BJP man who fought two elections appointed as member of rights panel

Chander Mohan Sharma, who had fought two elections, including the 2015 Rajya Sabha poll, on BJP ticket, was appointed as a non-judicial member of the rights watchdog.

UMER MAQBOOL
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jun 14 2018 12:17AM | Updated Date: Jun 14 2018 12:17AM
BJP man who fought two elections appointed as member of rights panelFile Photo

A prominent BJP face has been appointed as the member of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC after the state government conveyed to the Raj Bhavan that there was no legal issue in his appointment.

Chander Mohan Sharma, who had fought two elections, including the 2015 Rajya Sabha poll, on BJP ticket, was appointed as a non-judicial member of the rights watchdog.

The warrant of appointment was issued by the department of law, justice and parliamentary affairs after Governor NN Vohra, who is the appointing authority, gave his nod to the recommendation made by a high-level panel headed by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on October 11 last year.

Subsequently, the recommendation was sent to Raj Bhavan for Governor’s approval.

However, playing safe, Vohra had asked the state government to explain the legal position regarding the appointment of a person associated with any political party or holding any position in a political party as member of the rights body.

In its response, the state government communicated to the Governor’s secretariat that there is no legal impediment in appointing a person who is associated with a political party as member of the rights body.

The state BJP also came to rescue of Sharma, certifying that he had not been holding a post in the party during the past 10 years.

Interestingly, Sharma fought the 2015 Rajya Sabha election against Ghulam Nabi Azad of Congress. He secured 28 votes while Azad managed to get 30 votes with the support of National Conference and independent legislators from Kashmir.

Before it, Sharma had also fought 1987 Assembly election from Jammu West against Mangat Ram Sharma of Congress, losing by a margin of 6704 votes.

It has also come to fore that there was only one name of Chander Mohan Sharma from Jammu in the panel prepared by the law ministry, which was put up before selection committee members on October 11 last year, which is seen as a move to facilitate his appointment. 

In the panel, seven names were from Kashmir and one each from Jammu and Ladakh.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, state BJP general secretary Ashok Koul said that Sharma is associated with BJP but he is not holding any position or post in the party. The state government also defended the appointment.

“It (appointment in statutory bodies) depends on merit of a person and political preference shall not bar it,” state government spokesman and cabinet minister Naeem Akther told Greater Kashmir.

Though there is no legal bar on appointing politically-linked persons as members of the prestigious bodies like SHRC, politicians have been rarely selected for such jobs to maintain credibility of these institutions.

“You cannot treat these institutions as rehabilitation centers for politicians,” said a senior bureaucrat, wishing not to be named.

“These are not Public Sector Undertakings.”

In 2016, the Central government had come under sharp criticism for recommending Avinash Rai Khanna as member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

After the widespread criticism, he expressed unwillingness to work as member of the NHRC.

 

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