Union for Civil Liberties Vs. Union of India & Anr  Insc 41 (18 January 2005)
Sabharwal Y.K. Sabharwal, J.
Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is a high-powered statutory body to act as an
instrument for the protection and promotion of human rights. The credibility of
such an institution depends upon high degree of public confidence. In the
present case, the important question that has been raised is whether a former
member of the Police force is eligible to become a member of NHRC.
has been set up under provisions of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993
(for short 'the Act'). Its composition is provided in Section 3(2) of the Act.
The question for consideration in this petition is about the interpretation of
Section 3(2) (d), which stipulates that the Commission shall consist of two
members to be appointed from amongst persons having 'knowledge of, or practical
experience in, matters relating to human rights'. The fundamental question is
whether a Police officer would fall in the category stipulated under this
provision and is appointment of such a person consistent with the language of
the section and the true intendment of the Act. For determining this
fundamental question, it is necessary to note, in brief, the background
relating to the concept of Human Rights, the provisions of the Act and the
scheme thereof. First the facts which led to the filing of the petition may be
vacancy arose in NHRC in November 2003. It was in respect of the appointment to
be made under Section 3(2) (d). The second respondent, a Police Officer,
retired as Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in December 2003.
Every appointment is required to be made after obtaining the recommendations of
a Committee as postulated by Section 4 of the Act. The notice was sent to the
Committee members on 13th
convening a meeting for 19th
February, 2004. It
seems that on 19th February, the Home Secretary spoke to the Joint Secretary to
the Leader of Opposition who informed him that the Leader of Opposition in the
House of the People would not be able to attend the meeting but she has
conveyed her approval to recommendation of the name of respondent No.2.
Likewise, the Speaker of the House of People also expressed inability to attend
the meeting but conveyed his approval to the appointment of respondent No.2.
Insofar as Leader of Opposition in the Council of States is concerned, his
personal staff informed that being unwell and admitted in Hospital, he would
not be able to attend the meeting. A meeting was held on 19th February, 2004 wherein it was decided to recommend
the name of respondent No.2 to be appointed as a member of the Commission. The
Committee noticed that the Leader of Opposition in the House of People and the
Speaker had both conveyed their approval for the said recommendation. Thus on 19th February, 2004, respondent No.2 was selected to be
appointed a Member of NHRC.
appointment has been challenged mainly on the ground of ineligibility of a
police officer for being considered for appointment under the category
contemplated by Section 3 (2) (d). We may note that the challenge is based on
the fundamental issue and not on any allegations of personal nature against
respondent No.2. The contention is that none from police or security force is
eligible to be a member of such a body and it is clear from the provisions of
the Act, its scheme as also from the very concept which gave birth to
protection of Human Rights.
Act has been enacted to provide for better protection of human rights and for
matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The statement of objects and
reasons notes that the human rights embodied in international covenant on Civil
and Political Rights and the international covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights, adopted by the General Assembly of the United nations on 16th
December, 1966, stand substantially protected by the Constitution of India.
However, there has been growing concern in the country and abroad about issues
relating to human rights. Having regard to this, changing social realities and
emerging trends in the nature of crime and violence, Government has been
reviewing the existing laws, procedures and system of administration of
justice, with a view to bringing about greater accountability and transparency
in them, and devising efficient and effective methods of dealing with the
situation. Taking into account the views of all concerned, the Act was enacted.
"Human Rights" means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality
and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the
International Covenants and enforceable by Courts in India [Section 2(1)(d)].
"International Covenants" means the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on the 16th December, 1966 [Section 2(1)(f)]. Besides two
members to be appointed from amongst persons having knowledge of or practical
experience in, matters relating to human rights as provided in clause (d) of
Section 3(2), it is stipulated that Commission shall consist of
Chairperson who shall have been a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court;
member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court; and
Member who is, or has been the Chief Justice of a High Court.
powered Committee consisting of
Speaker of the House of the People;
Minister in-charge of the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Government of India;
Leader of the Opposition in the House of the People;
Leader of the Opposition in the Council of States; and
Deputy Chairman of the Council of States, has been entrusted with the
responsibility to make recommendations for appointment of Chairperson and other
members, as provided in Section 4(1) of the Act. In the event of the occurrence
of any vacancy in the office of the Chairperson, any one of the members can be
authorized to act as the Chairperson until the appointment of a new Chairperson
to fill such vacancy.
11 of the Act provides that Central Government shall make available to the NHRC
officer of the rank of the Secretary to the Government of India who shall be
the Secretary-General of the Commission; and
police and investigative staff under an officer not below the rank of a
Director General of Police and such other officers and staff as may be
necessary for the efficient performance of the function of the Commission.
functions and powers of the Commission have been set out in Part III of the
Act. Section 12 whereof, inter alia, provides that the Commission shall have
power to review the safeguards provided by or under the Constitution or any
other law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights and
recommend measures for their effective implementation and study treaties and
other international instruments on human rights and make recommendations for
their effective implementation. The Commission is also empowered to require any
person, subject to any privilege which may be claimed by that person under any
law for the time being in force, to furnish information on such points or
matters as, in the opinion of the Commission, may be useful for, or relevant
to, the subject-matter of the inquiry and any person so required shall be
deemed to be legally bound to furnish such information within the meaning of
Sections 176 and 177 of the Indian Penal Code [Section 13(2)].
power to conduct any investigation pertaining to the inquiry has been provided
for in Section 14 of the Act. The special investigation teams can be
constituted for the purposes of investigation and prosecution of offences
arising out of violation of human rights in the manner provided in Section 27
of the Act.
V deals with constitution of State Human Rights Commission and matters related
thereto including appointment of Chairperson and other members and functions of
the said Commission.
NHRC is a unique expert body in itself has been amplified in Paramjit Kaur v.
State of Punjab & Ors. [(1999) 2 SCC 131]. The judgment sets out how the
Chairman and other two members, postulated by clauses (a) to (c) of Section
3(2) of the Act, throughout their long tenure get opportunities to consider,
expound and enforce the fundamental rights and how they are, in their own way,
experts in the field.
noticed salient features of the Act, it can be seen that the aspect of
investigation is only one part which has been dealt with separately, the other
part being the decision making power and functions of Commission separately
dealt with. Let us now note the development at international level which
ultimately led on the passing of the Act. The consideration at the
international level on the establishment and functioning of national
institutions can provide a backdrop to an understanding of the Act. Articles 1,
55, 56, 62, 68 and 76 of the UN Charter provide the basis for recognition,
elaboration of the contents of the standards and the machinery for implementing
the protection of human rights. The General Assembly of the United Nations
adopted on 10th September, 1948 a universal declaration of human rights. The
international covenant on civil and political rights, the international covenant
on economic, social and cultural rights adopted by the General Assembly of the
United Nations on 16th
December, 1966 formed a
bedrock of international recognition of human rights.
year 1991, the United Nations sponsored meetings of representatives of National
Institutions in Paris wherein a detailed set of
principles on the status of National Human Rights Institutions was developed.
The principles developed therein are commonly known as 'Paris principles'. Paris principles were subsequently endorsed
by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations General
Assembly. The six criteria of National Human Rights Institutions under Paris principles are:-
Independence guaranteed by the Statute or
Autonomy from Government.
Pluralism in membership.
Broad mandate based on human rights standards.
Adequate power of State.
The Paris principles set out the principles
relating to the status and functioning of National Institutions for protection
and promotion of human rights. In respect of composition and guarantees of
independence and pluralism, it provides that :
composition of the national institution and the appointment of its members,
whether by means of an election or otherwise, shall be established in
accordance with a procedure which affords all necessary guarantees to ensure
the pluralist representation of the social forces (of civilian society)
involved in the protection and promotion of human rights, particularly by
powers which will enable effective cooperation to be established with, or
through the presence of, representative of :
organizations responsible for human rights and efforts to combat racial
discrimination, trade unions, concerned social and professional organizations,
for example, associations of lawyers, doctors, journalists and eminent
in philosophical or religious thought;
and qualified experts;
departments (if they are included, these representatives should participate in
the deliberations only in an advisory capacity)." In regard to structure
of such institutions, the guidelines, inter alia, recommended that they would
be so designed as to reflect in their composition, wide cross sections of the
nation thereby bringing all part of that population into the decision making
process in regard to the human rights.
India is a party to aforesaid covenants.
Indian Constitution guarantees essential human rights in the form of
fundamental rights under Part III and also directive principles of State Policy
in Part IV which are fundamental in the governance of the country. Freedoms
granted under Part III have been liberally construed by various pronouncement
of this Court in last half a century in favour of the subjects also, keeping in
view the international covenants. The object has been to place citizens at a
central stage and State being highly accountable.
main question is whether Section 3(2)(d), is to be read keeping in view Paris principles. If it is to be so
whether a former member of Police force or member of any Security Forces as a
class, are ineligible to become members of the Commission.
investigation under the Act has been separately dealt with in the manner
provided in Sections 11, 14 and 37. A Police officer may be very good
investigator. He may have vast experience in respect of the nature of
commission of crime and consequentially its prevention. But, for the present
purposes what is relevant to be borne in mind is that number of cases reported
to NHRC relate to acts of omission and commission by the members of such
forces. In this regard, reference can be made to NHRC Report for the year
2001-02. That report shows that large number of cases relating to custodial
deaths and police encounter deaths came up for enquiry and consideration before
the Commission. The officers of these forces while being members of service
necessarily come across such cases. An individual officer may be very good but
something inbuilt in service as a class is the relevant consideration. The
Commission has also to deal with type of cases, which officers had sometimes to
defend, on account of nature of their service. Further, the knowledge or
practical experience in relation to commission of crime, investigation and
solving a crime which may show violation of human rights is one thing and the
knowledge or experience relating to protection of life, liberty, equality and
dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the
international covenants and enforceable by courts in India is altogether
different. The requirement of the section is of latter and not former.
Kaur's case (supra), gives an indication as to what type of knowledge or
practical experience in matter of human rights, the Act has in contemplation so
as to make a person eligible to be appointed as a member of the Commission. We
have to consider the eligibility of a person who has to become a part of the
decision making process of NHRC and not the process of investigation which
commission may direct to be conducted. The exclusion of the category under
consideration seems evident when seen as to who are included in the light of
Paris principles, namely, representatives of non-governmental organizations
responsible for human rights and efforts to combat racial discrimination, trade
unions, concerned social and professional organizations, for example,
associations of lawyers, doctors, journalists eminent scientists; trends in
philosophical or religious thoughts; universities and qualified experts; and
the Government departments, their representation in the deliberations is only
in advisory capacity. The scheme of the Act is to protect and implement human
rights including those envisaged in Article 21 of the Constitution and
International Covenants. The functions include understanding and dissemination
of knowledge on human rights. The members referred in Section 3(2)(d) are
required to have the knowledge and practical experience in matters relating to
human rights of the type expected from those covered under Section 3(2)(a),(b)
and (c). Reference may also be made to Section 7 which provides that in the
event of the occurrence of any vacancy in the office of the Chairperson, any
one of the members may be authorized to act as the Chairperson until the
appointment of a new Chairperson. The person to be appointed under Section 3(2)(d)
should also be one who can act as a Chairperson under contingency contemplated
by Section 7 o the Act.
Union of India, in its counter affidavit, has mentioned certain cases
investigated by respondent No.2 during his tenure as a Police officer, which
includes among other Punjab Massacre case. It has also been stated that
respondent No.2 is a Vice-President (Asia) of Interpol, an international police
organization in which capacity, it is claimed, he is involved in developing
mechanisms for police cooperation in investigation and prosecution of crimes
across borders including terrorism, human safety and human trafficking, which
are all offences against human rights.
of India in the counter affidavit claims that :
the course of their careers, police officers garner in vast practical
experience in police methodology, investigative techniques and other practical
matters relating to human rights. It is submitted that such experience would
inter alia aid the Commission in identifying cases of police mal-practice and
the Commission would be able to look behind cases of cover up and attempts to
shield guilty police officers. It is, therefore, submitted that Respondent No.2
has adequate knowledge and practical experience in matters relating to human
rights, qualifying him for appointment to the Commission under Section 3(2)(d)
of the Act." The expertise in investigation cannot be confused with
expertise in the matters relating to human rights. Two are entirely different.
For investigation, police and investigating staff is available to the
Commission can also require any person to furnish information on such points or
matters as may be useful for, or relevant to, the subject matter of inquiry. It
may utilise services of any officer or investigating agency as stipulated in
Section 14 of the Act for the purpose of conducting any investigation
pertaining to the inquiry. The Central Government is required to make available
to the Commission such police and investigating staff under an officer not
below the rank of Director General of Police and such other officers and staff
as may be necessary for the efficient performance of the functions of the
construing the provisions of the statute, the nature and object of the statute
cannot be overlooked. In these matters, the aspect of public perception cannot
be altogether overlooked. The statute of the nature under consideration are
based on public confidence. It cannot be overlooked that notwithstanding the
exemplary role of police and security forces, there have been many instances of
excesses by the members of the forces leading to public unrest and
deteriorating public faith. The issue is not whether all are fully true or not
but is what exists in the public mind and whether there is some justification.
individual Police officer may be very good but his participation in decision
making as a member of the Commission is likely to give rise to a reasonable
apprehension in the minds of the citizens that he may sub- consciously
influence the functioning of the Commission. Such reasonable perception of the
affected parties are relevant considerations to ensure the continued public
confidence in the credibility and impartiality of institution like NHRC.
has been said about the institution of judiciary in P.K. Ghosh, IAS and Anr. v.
J.G. Rajput [(1995) 6 SCC 744] can also be applied for considering the
institution like NHRC. It was said that credibility in the functioning of
justice delivery system and the reasonable perception of the affected parties
are relevant considerations to ensure the continuance of public confidence in
the credibility and impartiality of the judiciary.
two constructions of Section 3(2)(d) are reasonably possible, the construction
which promotes public confidence, advances the cause of human rights and seeks
to fulfill the purpose of international instruments has to be preferred than
the one which nullifies it. Ambiguity, if any, in the statutory provision is
required to be removed by judicial process to advance the cause of protection
of human rights.
observations in P.N. Duda v. P. Shiv Shanker & Ors. [(1988) 3 SCC 167] that
'After all it cannot be denied that predisposition or subtle prejudice or
unconscious prejudice or what in Indian language is called 'sanskar' are
inarticulate major premises in decision making process' are quite apt in the
aspect of sub-conscious mind, what Justice Frankfurter said for not
participating in the decision of Public Utilities Commission of the District of
Columbia, Capital Transit Company & Washington Transit Radio, Inc. v. Franklin
S. Pollak & Guy Martin. [343 US
451], is quite enlightening. It reads:- "The judicial process demands that
a judge move within the framework of relevant legal rules and the covenanted
modes of thought for ascertaining them. He must think dispassionately and
submerge private feeling on every aspect of a case. There is a good deal of
shallow talk that the judicial robe does not change the man within it. It does.
The fact is that on the whole judges do lay aside private views in discharging
their judicial functions. This is achieved through training, professional
habits, self-discipline and that fortunate alchemy by which men are loyal to
the obligation with which they are entrusted. But it is also true that reason
cannot control the subconscious influence of feelings of which it is unaware.
When there is ground for believing that such unconscious feelings may operate
in the ultimate judgment, or may not unfairly lead others to believe they are
operating, judges recuse themselves. They do not sit in judgment. They do this
for a variety of reasons. The guiding consideration is that the administration
of justice should reasonably appear to be disinterested as well as be so in
fact." (Emphasis supplied) The aforesaid passage has been quoted with
approval in Ranjit Thakur v. Union of India & Ors. [(1987) 4 SCC 611] When
a Police officer is a member of NHRC, the question to be asked is not to his
bias but is the impression of a reasonable right minded person and the
confidence the Commission would generate as a result of participation of a
person of such a background.
principles laid in aforesaid decisions can be reasonably applied for
considering the question in issue in relation to NHRC which is headed by a
person who held the position of the head of the judiciary and has the
assistance of a former Chief Justice and Judge of the highest court of the
respect of violations of human rights during investigation, in D.K. Basu v.
State of West Bengal [(1997) 1 SCC 416], grave concern was expressed by this
Court in respect of persons who were supposed to be the protectors of the
citizens and committed violence under the shield of uniform and authority in
the four walls of a Police Station or lockup, the victims being totally
helpless. It will be useful to note what was said in para 18 which reads :
in spite of the constitutional and statutory provisions aimed at safeguarding
the personal liberty and life of a citizen, growing incidence of torture and
deaths in police custody has been a disturbing factor. Experience shows that
worst violations of human rights take place during the course of investigation,
when the police with a view to secure evidence or confession often resorts to
third-degree methods including torture and adopts techniques of screening
arrest by either not recording the arrest or describing the deprivation of
liberty merely as a prolonged interrogation. A reading of the morning
newspapers almost everyday carrying reports of dehumanising torture, assault,
rape and death in custody of police or other governmental agencies is indeed
depressing. The increasing incidence of torture and death in custody has
assumed such alarming proportion that it is affecting the credibility of the
rule of law and the administration of criminal justice system. The community
rightly feels perturbed. Society's cry for justice becomes louder." The
Court also took note of various other security forces and other agencies where
too there were instances of torture and death in custody.
v. Union of India & Ors. [(2004) 2 SCC 579] was a case where the Commission
enquired into violation of human rights by officials of CBI.
No.2 has been a Police Officer throughout his service career. We assume that he
was a very efficient officer and investigated many cases including complicated
and sensitive cases but what is relevant for the present purpose is the 'sanskar',
to borrow, words from P.N. Duda's case, i.e., conscious or sub-conscious bias
in favour of investigating agencies.
again, we wish to make it clear that neither we are condemning any force nor
upright officers of which there is no dearth, but are examining the confidence
the community at large is likely to generate on officers of such services being
appointed as member of the Commission, particularly, when the language of
Section 3(2)(d) does not admit of only one interpretation. When two
interpretations are possible, the interpretation which promotes the object of
the Act and public confidence deserves to be adopted.
can also be examined from another angle. The knowledge or experience of a
police officer of human rights violation, represents only one facet of human
right violation and its protection, namely, arising out of crime. Human Right
violations are of various forms which besides Police brutality is gender
injustice, pollution, environmental degradation, mal-nutrition, social
ostracism of Dalits etc.
officer can claim to have experience of only one facet. That is not the
requirement of the section.
also note some of the decisions, in which drawing aid from international
covenants, law enacted by Indian Parliament was construed and relief of
protection of human rights was given.
Mackenzie and Co. Ltd. v. Audrey D'Costa [(1987) SCC 469], this Court
considered the case of a "confidential lady stenographer" who
complained that she and other women stenographers who are in the service of a
company were being paid lower emoluments than their male counterparts. Taking
note of the fact that India is a party to the international convention
concerning equal remuneration for men and women for work of equal value (the
Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951), the Court adopted a principle embodied in
the Convention to construe a law enacted by the Parliament, the Equal
Remuneration Act, 1976 to grant relief to the petitioner therein by holding the
action of the employer to be an unconstitutional violation of the principles of
equal pay for equal work.
Barse v. Secretary, Children's Aid Soceity [(1987) 3 SCC 50 at 54], the
petitioner complained about the state of affairs in an observation home for
children. While issuing directions to the State of Maharashtra, it was held by
this Court that the international instruments which had been ratified by India
and which elucidated norms for the protection of children cast an obligation on
the State to implement their principles. The Court said:
are the citizens of the future era. On the proper bringing up of children and
giving them the proper training to turn out to be good citizens depends the
future of the country. In recent years, this position has been well realized.
In 1959 the Declaration of all the rights of the child was adopted by the
General Assembly of the United Nations in Article 24 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1996, the importance of the child has
been appropriately recognized. India as a part to these International Charters
having ratified the Declaration, it is an obligation of the Government of India
as also the State machinery to implement the same in the proper way." In
the aforesaid case, this Court traveled one step further than in Makinnon
Mackenzie and made not merely a reference to an international convention but a
stronger expression of the binding nature of its obligations.
of this Court to ensure a virtual judicial incorporation of treaty law into the
corpus juris is demonstrated by its opinion in Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan
[AIR 1997 SC 3011 at 3015], in the following words:
meaning and content of the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution of
India are of sufficient amplitude to encompass all the facets of gender
equality including prevention of sexual harassment or abuse. Independence of
judiciary forms a part of our constitutional scheme. The international
conventions and norms are to be read into them in the absence of enacted
domestic law occupying the field when there is no inconsistency between them.
It is now an accepted rule of judicial construction that regard must be had to
international conventions and norms for construing domestic law when there is
no inconsistency between them and there is a void in the domestic law." Again
in People's Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India & Anr. [(1997) 3
SCC 433], dealing with the criticism against reading of conventions and
covenants into the national laws, it was opined :
the present, it would suffice to state that the provisions of the covenant,
which elucidate and go to effectuate the fundamental rights guaranteed by our
Constitution, can certainly be relied upon by courts as facets of those
fundamental rights and hence, enforceable as such. So far as multilateral
treaties are concerned the law is, of course, different and definite." Thus,
international treaties have influenced interpretation of Indian law in several
ways. This Court has relied upon them for statutory interpretation, where the
terms of any legislation are not cear or are reasonably capable of more than
one meaning. In such cases, the courts have relied upon the meaning which is in
consonance with the treaties, for there is a prima facie presumption that
Parliament did not intend to act in breach of international law, including
State treaty obligations. It is also well accepted that in construing any
provision in domestic legislation which is ambiguous, in the sense that it is
capable of more than one meaning, the meaning which conforms most closely to
the provisions of any international instrument is to be preferred, in the
absence of any domestic law to the contrary. In this view, Section 3(2)(d) is
to be read keeping in view Paris Principles. Further, the proposal to appoint
police officers on two earlier occasions was dropped when Chairperson of NHRC
expressed his opinion against appointments of such persons.
construing Section 3(2)(d) of the Act, police officer would be ineligible to be
appointed as a member of NHRC.
challenge to the appointment of respondent No.2 was also made on two other
Absence of effective consultation with the Committee members and, therefore,
the recommendation was not in accord with Section 4 of the Act and
of established norm of consultation with the Chairperson of NHRC.
relevant for considering aforesaid grounds have already been noticed. Under
Section4 every appointment has to be made after obtaining the recommendations
of a Committee. The requirement of Section is not of 'consultation' but of
recommendation of the Committee. It is true that the recommendations are
required to be made after taking into consideration all relevant factors
eschewing irrelevant factors. Since notice of the meeting had been given to
Leader of Opposition in the Council of States, it cannot be said that the
recommendations of the Committee would stand vitiated as a result of his
non-participation. There is nothing to even suggest that any request for
deferring the meeting was made. Undoubtedly, for meaningful and purposeful
recommendation, there ought to be complete disclosure of relevant factors
considering that the appointment is being recommended for a highly expert body
in relation to protection of human rights. The members of the Committee were
not informed that on earlier two occasions, the views of the Chairperson of the
NHRC were asked and since the Chairperson was opposed to the appointment of a
member of the force, the proposal was dropped. It is, however, unnecessary to
examine its effect in view of the answer to the main question.
the second ground, namely, the requirement of consultation with the Chairperson
of the NHRC for appointment of members under Section 3(2)(d), the fact that the
opinion of the Chairperson was sought on earlier two occasion would not
tantamount to setting up of a convention requiring the Chairperson to be mandatorily
consulted. Section 4 also does not postulate consultation with the Chairperson.
However, having regard to the position of the Chairperson and the laudable
objects the Commission is serving, its functions being of far reaching public
impact, we hope that till the amendment of the Act, the Central Government
would consider developing a healthy convention of consulting the Chairperson
regarding the appointment of the members and placing the opinion of the
Chairperson before the Committee. We may also note that long time back the
Commission had written to the Government suggesting amendments in the Act and
incorporating a provision for mandatory consultation with the Chairperson
regarding appointment of the members, but the matter still seems to be pending
consideration of the Government. It deserves to be expedited.
parting, we reiterate that this Court should not be understood to have
condemned, in any manner, the Police officers or members of Security Forces.
They are, indeed, doing great service to the nation.
of the officers in these services have dealt with most difficult and intricate
situations and problems and have contributed a lot in their solution. The
question considered by us is only in the context of their expertise in the
matters relating to human rights within the meaning of Section 3(2)(d) read
with Paris principles. We also wish to place on record our appreciation for the
assistance rendered by Mr. Gulam E. Vahanvati, learned Solicitor General on
request made by this Court.
view of the aforesaid discussion, the appointment of respondent No.2 as member
of the National Human Rights Commission is declared null and void but it shall
not affect the validity of the decisions taken while he was a member of the
petition is allowed accordingly and the rule made absolute.