WCD ministry fined for failing to appoint Chairman of child right’s body

SansadTV Bureau

FILE: Union Woman and Child Development minister Maneka Gandhi. Photo – PTI

In a stern move, the Supreme Court on Friday imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on Ministry of Woman and Child Development for not appointing Chairman of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) despite its three earlier directions. Ordering imposition of fine, the apex court bench strongly observed that failure to appoint the Chairman of the child right’s body was an “unexplained delay” on the part of ministry.

The orders were passed by the social justice bench of Justice MB Lokur and Justice UU Lalit. The bench also observed that the WCD ministry had already taken three adjournments since 2014 in the matter.

Brushing aside the ministry’s submission that the file for the appointment of Chairman, a post lying vacant for the past one and half years, was lying in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the two-judge bench said, “Do not tell us PMO. We are not concerned. We will impose the cost”.

In the process, the top court bench also rejected the government’s plea where they had sought time for another four weeks.

“We do not know. We are not concerned. It cannot take one and a half years to appoint NCPCR Chairman. You speak to the PMO”, the bench told Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Singh, who was representing the Union government. The ASG tried hard to convince the court, claiming intricacies involved in the appointment process.

“If you do not accept an appointment, then reject it but take a decision,” the bench added further.

In the same matter, the court also took exception to an affidavit filed by the Uttar Pradesh government which said it need not appoint state advisory committee as the High Court was seized of the matter and dealing with it.

“This is just too much. You are not going to do anything as the High court is doing it,” the bench had strongly observed prompting the counsel for UP government to admit regret and make necessary amendments in his submissions.

The court has now fixed the hearing of the matter on September 18.

(With inputs from the PTI)