Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan was quick to condemn the gang rape of the 23-year-old paramedical student in Delhi and he yesterday expressed sadness over her death, but the state government appears to be dragging its feet over filling up the post of chief of the State Commission for Women (SCW) — the statutory body that takes measures to safeguard women.
“There is a need to include harsh punishments in the law against such crimes. The need of the hour is for fast track courts and higher conviction rate in crimes against women,” Chavan had said in his condolence message, besides expressing willingness to request the Bombay High Court to allocate 25 fast track courts exclusively to bring fast results in cases of crime against women.
But back home, the posts of president and other members of the SCW lie vacant since 2009. A source said on condition of anonymity that Congress had listed a few names of candidates for appointment as chief of the state commission for women, but the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is reluctant to accept as it wants its own party member occupying the post. The source added that this has been causing delays since the last three years.
Reacting sharply on the issue, Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe said that the women MLAs and MLCs, irrespective of the political parties they represent, have been demanding that the CM ensure immediate appointment of chief of state election commission for women since the past three years.
“We had even suggested that if they did not have a suitable candidate for the post, they could select someone from one of the numerous social
organisations in the state,” Gorhe said.
NCP city MP Vandana Chavan refuted claims that the party is unwilling for Congress candidates to be appointed to the post.
“The post can be filled from Congress quota and we are not opposing this. In fact, our party has always been sensitive towards women’s safety issue. We will put forward a fresh demand for immediate filling of the post on the backdrop of the Delhi gang rape incident,” Vandana said.
Attempts to contact the CM resulted in his Public Relation Officer Satish Lalit informing that Chavan was attending an event with President Pranab Mukherjee.
“The CM has not yet announced the appointment of the chief of State Commission for Women. The appointment is not currently on the agenda,” Lalit said.
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