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Justice Dattu to lead Commission

Graphic: Justice Dattu (second from right) at the ICC Annual Meeting in March 2016

The former Chief Justice of India has joined the National Human Rights Commission of India as its seventh Chairperson.

Former Chief Justice of India HL Dattu has joined the National Human Rights Commission of India as its seventh Chairperson.

Justice KG Balakrishnan completed his tenure on May 11, last year following which member of the Commission Justice Cyriac Joseph held charge as the acting Chairperson.

Justice Dattu has been associated with several significant judgments. He was on the bench that expanded the Indian jurisprudence on death sentence cases by commuting the death penalty of terror convict Devinder Pal Singh Bhullar to life term, with consideration given to mental illness and an inordinate delay in deciding his mercy plea by the government.

Justice Dattu headed the bench that acquitted 11 persons charged under terror laws telling the Gujarat police that no innocent person should be branded a terrorist and put behind bars simply because he belongs to a minority community.

He also pronounced a landmark ruling with the observation that "bail is the rule and jail an exception" while granting bail in the "2G" case.

Upholding the freedom of press, Justice Dattu quashed an Allahabad High Court order, directing the Centre to prohibit media from reporting on the controversial troop movements near the national capital in 2012.

He was on the Constitution Bench that declared as "unconstitutional" a law enacted by Kerala to restrict water level in the Mullaperiyar dam to 136 feet, while protecting the legal right of Tamil Nadu.

Justice Dattu was appointed as a Judge of the Karnataka High Court on 18 December 1995 and elevated as the Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court on 12 February 2007.

On 18 May 2007, he was transferred to head the Kerala High Court. He was elevated as the Judge of the Supreme Court on 17 December 2008 and was appointed as the Chief Justice of India on 28 September 2014. He retired on 2 December 2015.

Date: 29 February 2016

Source: National Human Rights Commission of India