PM ‘asks’ ex-CJ to take up NHRC top post

Kathmandu, June 19:

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala today met former chief justice (CJ) Biswa Nath Upadhyaya to convince the latter to accept the post of the chairman at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

While Upadhyaya labelled the meeting purely as ‘courtesy’, sources said Koirala met Upadhyaya to convince him to accept the NHRC top post that has been lying vacant for over a year now.

“Nothing transpired on the issue. It was merely a courtesy meeting. We just inquired about one another’s health conditions,” Upadhyaya told this daily.

On June 13, Upadhyaya had told this daily that despite the fact that the eight parties have agreed to appoint him as the NHRC chairman, he was “not interested” in the offer.

“I am not interested,” Upadhyaya had said when asked why he refused to take the offer. Without elaborating, Upadhyaya said he would not like to get involved in any kind of controversy. Officials at the NHRC, too, speculated that the PM’s meeting with Upadhyaya at the latter’s residence in Gyaneswor was basically meant to offer the post.

The government is under tremendous pressure, both nationally and internationally, for the delay in the appointment of NHRC commissioners.

The National Human Rights Commission officials, some weeks ago, met leaders of the eight parties, the Speaker and members of the Legislature-Parliament in a bid to press the parties concerned to accelerate the appointment of the commissioners.

“Almost all the leaders whom we met were positive,” Yagya Raj Adhikari, head of the protection department at the NHRC told this daily.

In the absence of commissioners at the NHRC, some 113 recommendations of action against human rights violators are gathering dust.

“Human rights violators are moving around freely,” Adhikari added.