The BJP-led NDA government’s decision to appoint party vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna as a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) came up for discussion at the Congress Working Committee meeting on Monday, with some members arguing that the first-ever appointment of an active politician to the rights body should be opposed.
Sources said members spoke about the government’s standoff with the judiciary, and appointments to other institutions. The CWC passed a resolution expressing “deep concern and alarm over the continuing and deliberate attack on the independence of the judiciary and the delay in appointments of judges to the higher judiciary, which has adversely affected the judicial delivery system”.
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The Indian Express reported on Sunday that Khanna’s name was cleared last month by the high-level selection panel, which included Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad besides the Prime Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker, Union Home Minister and Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
Khanna is likely to be appointed as NHRC member in the next few days.
The CWC resolution also accused the government of indulging in “centralisation of authority”, taking “arbitrary and partisan decisions” and “misuse of government agencies to target political opponents, critics and institutions”.