New Delhi, July 22 (IANS): The Rajya Sabha on Monday passed the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019 that seeks to allow a Supreme Court judge apart from the Chief Justice of India to be appointed Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) and increases the number of its members from two to three.
Currently, only a retired Chief Justice of India can head the Commission, while a former high court judge can be the head of state human rights body.
The proposed amendment provides for a reduction in the tenure of Chairpersons of the National and State Human Rights Commissions to three years from the present five years.
Participating in the discussion on the bill, Congress member Vivek Tankha said that in case a Chief Justice is available, will he be overlooked in favour of a hand-picked judge. He further asked if this will lead to a pick-and-choose system in the human rights bodies.
"There needs to be greater clarity on the matter," he said.
Later, replying to members on the bill, Home Minister Amit Shah said that the proposed amendments had been made keeping in mind the effectiveness of the bill.
A motion to send the Bill to a Select Committee was taken up but it was negated.