Justice K Balakrishnan was on Thursday appointed chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, three weeks after retiring as Chief Justice of India.
65-year-old Balakrishnan will take charge as the sixth chairperson of the commission on Monday next. He will have a tenure of five years.
The tenure of Balakrishnan as the CJI between January 2007 and May 12 this year was marked by some landmark verdicts and controversies like declaration of assets by the judges and functioning of the collegium.
The major judgements authored by him included the one declaring as illegal the conduct of narco-analysis and brain mapping tests without consent of the person concerned.
He had been opposed to the idea of bringing the office of Chief Justice of India under the purview of Right to Information Act and was reluctant to the proposal for declaration of assets by the judges.
President Pratibha Patil gave her approval to Balakrishnan's appointment after recommendation by a Parlimentary committee, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, sources said on Thursday.
The post had been lying vacant since May 2009 after the retirement of Justice Rajendra Babu. Justice G P Mathur, member of the commission, had been functioning as its acting chairperson since then.
Balakrishnan, born on May 12, 1945 at Thalayolaparambu in Kottayam district of Kerala, was the Chief Justice of India from January 2007 to May this year.
He began his legal career in 1968 when he was enrolled as an Advocate of the Kerala Bar Council. He was appointed as a Munsif in the Kerala Judicial Service in 1973.
However, he resigned from the service later and resumed his practice as an advocate in the Kerala High Court.
In 1985, he was appointed as a judge of the Kerala high court. He was later transferred to Gujarat high court in 1997. He became the Chief Justice of the high court of Gujarat in 1998.
He was later made Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature at Madras in 1999. In 2000, he was elevated as the Judge, Supreme Court.
Image: Justice K G Balakrishnan