It's year-end, but Maharashtra women's panel still empty

Tuesday, 31 December 2013 - 10:25am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The Maharashtra government, which had assured the Bombay high court that it would complete the procedure for appointment of chairman and members of the state women’s commission by year-end, hasn’t fulfilled its promise.

On December 17, the state had told HC that it would complete the process of filling up the vacancies in the commission by the end of December. The posts have been lying vacant since 2009.

The commission was formed in 2006. The posts of the chairperson and six members were filled then for three years. However, even after the end of the tenure in 2009, no fresh appointments have been made by the state as yet.

Several NGOs, political parties and activists have criticised chief minister Prithviraj Chavan for not filling up the vacancies in spite of an increase in crimes against women.

Mahendra Hazare, deputy secretary with the Women and Child Welfare Department (WCWD), said they have forwarded a list of proposed names to the chief minister’s office. “Once the CMO sends a letter confirming the names, we will issue the appointment orders,” said Hazare, adding that they hope to get the confirmed names by Tuesday and necessary steps will be taken then.

Fauzia Khan, state minister for the WCWD, said the NCP has to propose names for the members’ posts, whereas the Congress has to give names for the chairperson’s position.

“We sent the proposed names for the members long ago, after they were endorsed by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. It is now up to the CM to take a call and select the chairperson,” she said.

The CMO forwarded a mail to the WCWD on Monday saying: “Forwarding this email for necessary action”. It contained the attachment of the letter submitted by the government before HC.

The letter was submitted by the government during a hearing in a public interest litigation filed by activists Vihar Durve and Meera Kamat stating that all seven posts in the commission have been lying vacant since 2009.

The PIL contended that till May 2013 around 49,000 cases pertaining to atrocities on women were pending in several courts in the state. The next date for hearing on the issue in the HC is January 17, 2014.

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