NHRC gets chairman, four commissionersThe Constitutional Council has recommended former Chief Justice Anup Raj Sharma as the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission.
A meeting of the council on Thursday also recommended former Supreme Court Justice Prakash Osti, Senior Advocate Govinda Sharma Poudel, rights activist Sudip Pathak and Mohona Ansari as the commissioners.
Ansari is formerly a member of the National Women’s Commission and Pathak has already served as an NHRC member. The names will be forwarded to the Parliamentary Hearing Special Committee, which will issue a public notice calling for complaints, if any, against the nominations.
The NHRC had been without commissioners for a year as the six-year term of the officials expired last September, leaving behind a pile of unattended cases of rights violations. According to NHRC officials, there are over 1,000 investigated cases awaiting endorsement by commissioners. These include grave issues such as disappearances, torture, rape and murder.
“Since the NHRC will soon get its commissioners, we hope the commission will investigate into the cases of rights violations happening during the conflict and at other times,” said former Commissioner Sushil Pyakurel.
The absence of commissioners in the constitutional body has also affected the formation of the transitional justice mechanism.
Pyakurel said that the nomination of the NHRC chairman and members has
paved the way for the formation of transitional justice mechanisms.
“It does not mean, however, that the transitional justice process will go unhindered just with the appointments as there are objectionable provisions, which have been challenged in the Supreme Court,” he said.
As per the law, the NHRC chairperson or a member designated by him will be a member of the Recommendation Committee, responsible for nominating members of the proposed Commission on Enforced Disappearances and Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Rights defenders and lawyers have been questioning the legality of the committee without the NHRC representative.
The committee has invited applications for the transitional justice panel posts.
The committee has set bachelor’s degree as the minimum qualification for a member of the commissions while a former chief justice can apply for the post of chairperson.
According to committee member Pradip Pokharel, the committee will also make a headhunt for chairperson appointments from among persons deemed indispensable for the commissions if they do not apply.