“Section 4(3) of the Law provides that a vacancy in the membership of the HRCSL shall occur if a member:
- becomes bankrupt or insolvent;
- wilfully fails or refuses to participate in the work of the HRCSL without due cause; or
- becomes a member of a political party.
The SCA notes that the Law is not explicit on the procedure for removal of a member in these instances. The SCA emphasizes that, in order to address the requirement for a stable mandate, which is important in reinforcing independence, the enabling law of an NHRI must contain an independent and objective dismissal process. The grounds for dismissal must be clearly defined and appropriately confined to those actions that impact adversely on the capacity of the member to fulfil its mandate. Where appropriate, the legislation should specify that the application of a particular ground must be supported by a decision of an independent body with appropriate jurisdiction. The dismissal must be made in strict conformity with all the substantive and procedural requirements as prescribed by law. It should not be allowed based solely on the discretion of appointing authorities.
The SCA recommends that the HRCSL advocate for appropriate amendments to its enabling law to ensure an independent and objective dismissal process of its members including through a relevant independent mechanism.”