Lack of members puts CWC in trouble

Lack of members puts CWC in trouble

There are two CWCs in the City, but on the expiry of the three-year term on March 31, no steps have been taken to fill in the vacant spots. As the term was ending, members were asked to extend their term till new members were appointed. However, a large number of members have submitted their resignations stating that they cannot work in an environment with political interference. One of the members who refused to continue in service told Deccan Herald that the indirect influence exerted by the DCWD was one of the main reasons behind the resignation.

“In certain cases, some of the information unearthed by us posed potential embarrassment for the government. In some cases we were prevented from inspecting places, while in other cases we had to protect government employees,” the member said.

The discontent has been brewing for a while. Last year, one of the committees staged a boycott of sittings over difference of opinion in handling cases. For example in one particular instance a 15-year old girl was given in adoption to a 30-year old man. The member said that this was against the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, which specified that an 18-year gap was mandatory in such cases.

Former members of the Committee feel that the government is delaying selection of members as it wants a committee that does not embarrass the government. Lack of independent implementing mechanism is the Committees weakness.

“The judiciary has to take over CWC and monitors its implementation,” said Santhosh Vaz, one of the members who refused to continue on the Committee. The committee requires three members to form a quorum. As of now, the Committee looking after Boys observation home has three members, Basavaraj, Meera Madhavan and Umadevi and on some days they are joined by Anita Shivkumar.

The other committee handling girls has one member, Balakrishna Masali. The other member Nagendra has never attended any of the sittings since the day of his appointment. When serving members asked DWCD to speed up the appointments, they were told the process was stalled due to the non-availability of a retired judge on the selection committee. Director of DWCD Shyamala Iqbal said that the chief minister has approved a selection committee and that they would meet within a week to select members.