Directorate of Women and Child Welfare serves show cause notice on CWC chief

The rift has reportedly widened after the State Directorate of Women and Child Welfare served a show cause notice to the CWC President Prof Hilda Rayappan asking why she should not be removed from the post.

While the Directorate of Women and Child Welfare charged CWC of not adhering to rules, CWC alleged that the department is interfering in their functioning. The paradox is that the show cause notice alleges the CWC of not functioning satisfactorily but the same department rewarded this CWC with a cash prize of Rs 25,000 in 2008 for being the best CWC in the State.

The Directorate stated in the show cause notice sent to District CWC Chairperson Prof Hilda Rayappan on October 21 that the CWC has failed to provide Legally Free For Adoption (LFFA) certificates to 5 abandoned children, who were taken care by the Nirmala Social Welfare Centre, run by the Sisters of Charity in Ullal.  “CWC should compulsorily issue LFFA certificate to children, if their parents or relatives do not come forward to accept them. Instead of issuing the LFFA certificate, the CWC has directed the Directorate to produce the children before it. CWCs have no right to direct the directorate,” the notice explained. The directorate sought reply from the CWC chairperson as to why action should not be taken for not adhering to the rules of Juvenile Justice Act. Meanwhile, CWC Chairperson Prof Hilda Rayappan told Deccan Herald that they have not violated any rules of the Juvenile Justice Act. Whereas, LFFA certificates were not distributed to children since the mandatory police report with regard to children’s parents and relatives was not produced.  CWC Member Geo D’Silva said that the Nirmala Social Welfare Centre had agreed to produce the children before the Committee. “District Women and Child Welfare Department Deputy Director Shakunthala threatened the centre of legal measures, if they produce the children before the CWC. The Nirmala Social Welfare Centre had submitted their statements in writing too,” he added.  Another CWC member Renny D’Souza said that Shakunthala did not attend meetings of the CWC, since its inception 32 months ago. “How can an official blame the bench of magistrates under the Juvenile Justice Act without attending its meetings,” he questioned.

When asked, Shakunthala said that she has not recommended action against the CWC. However, she said, “only the rights of protection and care of children are vested on CWC.” Further Shakunthala said that she was not aware of the show cause notice sent to the CWC by the directorate. Reacting to CWC members’ allegations of not attending meets, she said, “it is not necessary that I should personally attend the meet.”

‘Based on complaints’

When contacted, Directorate of Women and Child Welfare Director Shamla Iqbal said that the show cause notice was sent to the CWC based on the directions of District-in-Charge Minister J Krishna Palemar. “The Minister had received several complaints with regard to the functioning of CWC. Many complained that the CWC sends rescued children to rehabilitation centres run by their own people,” she added.

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