The chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC), Justice G.C. Gupta, has hit out against the state government for not letting him function properly. Gupta has sought a report from the state government about problems plaguing his department, such as his staff refusing to follow his orders and recruitment processes being severely hampered.
In a 12-page letter to the state government, Justice Gupta has said that his staff members have changed his orders without telling him, delayed sending notices by up to four months and made such an unhealthy atmosphere in the office for him that he had to have open heart surgery.
“Majority of the members of the staff here are averse to work. Attending the office has become a matter of choice rather than obligation…The office has been functioning with the help of a few group D staff, a few stenographers, data entry operators and a handful of active members who have kept this office alive like a patient on life support system,” the letter read.
The WBHRC chairperson also referred to an incident in which the hearing of a case was stalled because of ‘irritant sounds’ coming from an adjoining room where he was told the staff was playing carrom.
Justice Gupta also said that, following the retirement of the Commission’s additional director general, a superintendent of police had been appointed for the post but the individual left office after getting a transfer, without seeking permission or even informing the chairperson.
Naming two high-ranking members of the commission specifically, the chairperson said that these individuals hid letters from him purposefully, passed the buck and didn’t even show him most of the files before shutting down cases.
Furthermore, the letter said that it has been around four years since Gupta joined the WBHRC in December 2016 but he is yet to get a personal assistant. “There was no recruitment in posts which were vacant due to retirement and transfer of officials from the Commission,” it said.
Justice Gupta says he has now taken it upon himself to do clerical work and is now functioning in a reverse process. “I have learnt that quitters are not winners,” he wrote, adding that he will continue to fight to ensure that there is a proper system in place.
When asked for a response, leaders of the ruling Trinamool Congress said they did not wish to speak on the matter.