Justice Arun Mishra

Former SC judge Arun Mishra set to become NHRC chairperson

MONTHS after his retirement from the Supreme Court, judge Arun Mishra is set to become the new chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) after a high-powered recommendation committee proposed his name on Monday, reported The Hindu quoting a source.

Justice Arun Mishra had retired as Supreme Court judge on September 3, 2020.

The committee comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Harivansh, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge recommended Mishra’s name, with Kharge disagreeing with the decision.

In 2019, Parliament amended the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 to provide that either a judge of the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice of India would be eligible for the post. Earlier to the amendment, only a person who has been the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was eligible for the post of the chairperson of the NHRC.

The 1993 Act provided that the chairperson and members of the NHRC would hold office for five years or till the age of 70, whichever was earlier. The Amendment Act reduced the term of office to three years or till the age of 70, whichever is earlier. The Bill also provides for the reappointment of the chairperson and members.

Mishra courted controversy when as a sitting judge he described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an “internationally acclaimed visionary” at a public forum. He commended Modi’s “versatile genius” to “think globally and act locally”.

Before his retirement in September last year, Justice Mishra faced criticism after punishing activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan with contempt of court.

Several senior advocates and newspaper editorial had condemned the judgment.