NGOs bring NCPCR bungling to PM's attention

Allege that selections to NCPCR lack transparency


Danish Raza | September 9, 2010

The selections to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) are now under a cloud with the civil society decrying the lack of transaparency in the manner in which these were conducted. Documents obtained by a Delhi-based NGO  Association for Development show that the selection of two NCPCR members - Dipa Dikshit and Sandhya Bajaj - flagrantly violated the norms regarding the prime minister's approval of such appointments.

The PM's approval came months after the two assumed charge in 2007 with the stautory body of the Indian government. This, however, is not the only time that there have been such gross violations. It was repeated in 2009 when four selections were approved by a director at the prime minister's office (PMO) while the PM gave his approval three months later.

“We can clearly see that directors in the PMO are clearing those names which are supposed to be cleared or approved by the Prime Minister himself,” said Prashant Bhushan, senior Supreme Court lawyer, who participated in a discussion on lack of transparency in NCPCR selections held in the capital on Thursday. The discussion was also attended by RTI activist Arvind Kejriwal.

As per the rule, the ministry of women and child development appoints one chairperson and six members of NCPCR after the approval of the Prime Minister.

RTI queries also reveal that both, Dikshit and Bajaj were not eligible for the posts of NCPCR members.

Members of the Commission have to be persons of eminence from the field of education, child health, care, welfare and juvenile justice.

Dikshit’s resume shows her as a corporate commercial lawyer with key achievements in areas including telecom, LPG and mergers & acquisitions.

Bajaj was the organizing secretary, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, at the time of applying at NCPCR. She was keen to contest the last assembly elections from Haryana and thought the same skills would be expected from NCPCR member.

“I hereby request you to kindly consider me for the NIT assembly seat in district Faridabad as I am a winning candidate,” read her resume obtained from the Commission.

At present, the Commission is functioning with just the chairperson. As many as 24 posts including that of six members are lying vacant in the Commission. Total of 130 candidates have applied for these post of member, NCPCR.

In April this year, the ministry of women & child development formed a selection committee to appoint members of the Commission. Same month, Padma Seth, an independent member of the committee resigned alleging that the ministry was pressurized her to select certain candidates against whom cases were pending in the High Court.

Participants in the discussion came up with a proposal to make the selection transparent. According to the proposal, the applications for the posts of NCPCR Chairperson and members should be invited through an open advertisement in newspapers. The details of candidates should be put up on the department website inviting public feedback. A search committee should bring the number of applications down to not more than five times the number of vacancies. The shortlisted candidates should then be considered be the selection committee consisting of the Prime Minister, concerned minister and a non - official minister for their appointment.

Child right bodies inlcuding Haq, Butterflies and AFD will soon write an open letter to the PM to bring the issue in his notice.




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