Mr. Justice Cyriac Joseph, Member, NHRC took charge as the Acting Chairperson of the Commission today. He is a former Judge of the Supreme Court of India and had joined the Commission as a Member on the 27th May, 2013. As authorized by the President of India, Justice Joseph will continue to hold the position, until the appointment of a new Chairperson in the NHRC in place of Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan who completed his tenure on 11th May, 2015.
During his nearly five years of Chairmanship of the Commission from the 7th June, 2010 to the 11th May, 2015, Justice Balakrishnan was credited with several new initiatives towards promotion and protection of human rights in the country and laid a lot of emphasis on increasing the outreach of the Commission to build awareness about human rights. Starting of 'Open Hearings' of the complaints on the problems of Scheduled Castes and atrocities against them in different States of the country was one of his major initiatives, among several others.
He also re-started the practice of NHRC's 'Camp Sittings' in different States to dispose of pending cases in the presence of Government authorities. Not only this, he also set up a Committee to study and classify offences which could be heard by Human Rights Courts. During his tenure, the Commission registered a record number of 4,93,445 cases, which also included 599 suo motu cognizance and disposed of 4,64,079 cases by recommending an amount of Rs. 68,97,70,172/- as monetary relief in 2242 cases.