The Madras High Court has dismissed the petition challenging the appointment of Justice S Baskaran, retired High Court judge, as the chairman of the Tamil Nadu State Human Rights Commission.
A division bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamurthy said the petition is “completely wrong” and that no further time should be wasted.
The main complaint of the petitioner, in this case, was that the post of chairman was not advertised before the appointment of Justice Baskaran.
The Court however stated that, unlike the usual appointments, the situation in question is an “important one”, where the appointments are made primarily by invitation. It is noted that the law also does not require any advertisement.
Justice Baskaran assumed the post of Chairman of the Tamil Nadu State Human Rights Commission on December 31, 2020.
It was the case of the petitioner that the appointment of Justice Baskaran as the Chairman of TN Human Rights Commission is a violation of Articles 14 (Right to Equality) and 16 (Equality of Opportunity in Public Employment Matters) of the Constitution.
He said that the post of the Chairman of the State Human Rights Commission is an office of the State within the meaning of Article 16 (1) of the Constitution and all eligible persons should be given an opportunity to apply to fill such post. And should have been considered on the basis of merit.
He further states that the appointment follows the Supreme Court order in Rojer Mathew v. South Indian Bank, (2020) 6 SCC 1, regarding safeguards to ensure the freedom of occupants of such offices. In this case, the apex court warned against the appointment of judges (repeatedly or retired) in a non-transparent manner.
The court said that the enforced appointment has been made by an additional selection committee which has been appointed by law.