Maharashtra government assured the Bombay high court on Monday that it will fill up the vacant posts of the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) within 2 months.
The assurance was given before the division bench of chief justice Dipankar Datta and justice Girish Kulkarni which is hearing a public interest litigation filed by Mumbai lawyer Vaishnavi Gholave which highlighted that the various posts at MSHRC have been vacant for over two years.
The judges went through a confidential report submitted by additional government pleader Nisha Mehara. Giving one last chance to the government, the judges said that it will not grant any further extension for filling filling up the vacant posts.
Gholave had filed the PIL filed through advocate Vinod Sanghvikar stating that four major posts – chairman, judicial member, expert member, secretary and special inspector general of police – which control and direct the overall functioning of the commission have been vacant for over 2 years. Besides, the PIL has also sought adequate infrastructure for online hearings and filings.
The PIL states that out of 51 sanctioned vacant posts, half of the posts are vacant. Also, no regular appointments have been made since 2018. The only adjudicatory member who was also judicial member/ acting chairperson retired in 2017, the commission has been rendered entirely non-functional, states the PIL.
According to the PIL, MSHRC had 21,545 pending cases till March 2021, which was the "highest in a decade". Further the commission had only disposed of 433 cases in this year due to non-availability of a regular chairperson and expert member.
The HC has kept the PIL for hearing on September 14.