A petition was moved challenging the appointment of retired High Court judge S Baskaran as the SHRC chairperson, alleging that the procedures envisaged in such an appointment were ignored. When the plea came up for hearing, the first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy directed the State to explain the process.
The bench also recorded the petitioner’s submission that the plea does not challenge the eligibility or suitability of the retired judge and that the contention was that Article 16 of the Constitution and dictum with regard to safeguards and independence of the position have been compromised by the impugned order.
Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel A Sirajudeen submitted that there was no public advertisement or invitation seeking eligible persons to apply for the post, which resulted in the Opposition Leader boycotting the proceeding.
But instead of adjourning the meeting, the committee went ahead and appointed the retired judge. Moreover, the Chief Justice of the High Court was also not consulted as per procedure, making the appointment illegal and void, the petitioner contended.