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N. Dinakaran to be Chairman of State Human Rights Commission

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The statutory committee, headed by Chief Minister V. S. Acthuthanandan, on Thursday recommended N. Dinakaran, retired Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court, for appointment as the chairman of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC).

The recommendation was made with the dissent of Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy who is a member of the committee. Mr. Chandy wanted the appointment to

be delayed as the Centre was contemplating amendment to the Human Rights Act.

The majority decision, supported by the third member of the Committee and Finance Minister Thomas Isaac, will now go to the Governor who is the appointing authority.

The High Court had earlier issued an order against the continuance of the former judge of the Kerala High CourtV. P. Mohankumar as Chairman. The previous Government had appointed him as a member of the Commission and then given him charge of the Chairman. Through this measure, the previous Government bypassed the legal requirement that only a retired Chief Justice of the High Court could be appointed as the Chairman.

Though a new Chairman is now being appointed, Mr. Mohankumar would continue to a member for the time being. However, a conflict with the Act would arise now, as the Commission will now have two members who are retired High Court judges. The Act envisages only one of the members to be a retired High Court judge. So, the

Government would be seeking an order of the High Court on continuance of Mr. Mohankumar after the new Chairman is appointed, official sources said. But for a court order, a Commission member can only be impeached.

Mr. Chandy argued that Mr. Mohankumar would be able to continue as Chairman as Parliament was to consider legislation for reducing the qualification of the Chairman.

The proposed amendment to the Act specifies that even retired High Court judges could be appointed as chairmen of State Commissions.

Mr. Dinakaran has previously served as a judge in the High Courts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu before his promotion as Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court.

The Government wants his appointment to be effected before Parliament passes the amendment to the Act.

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