Mumbai: Child rights commission seeks manpower, funds from government

Updated: Dec 09, 2017, 11:26 IST | Pallavi Smart

Child rights commission, functioning on a paltry staff of three, shoots off another letter to govt for additional manpower and funds

Is the Maharashtra government serious about running the state child rights commission? That's the question the commission itself has raised, having sent numerous letters to the Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, on how it is severely understaffed, because of which a number of cases are pending final order. More than 60 cases have been disposed of but await final orders due to shortage in manpower. Other than staff, the commission has demanded a grant of Rs 4 crore to make the system more efficient.

Devendra Fadnavis
Devendra Fadnavis

Understaffed
The Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, which deals with cases concerning children's welfare, right from those personal in nature to complaints against schools, civic bodies, government, etc, is swamped. Unlike in our judicial system, it has to adhere to a time limit when it comes to issuing final orders. With more parents complaining of delay in orders in the recent past, the commission was finally pushed to write to the state government, demanding its wholehearted attention.

"When the commission was set up in 2007, 12 posts were sanctioned for it. Now, the work has multiplied exponentially, and all we have are three staffers, just three," lamented A N Tripathi, secretary of the commission. Tripathi added, "For so many days, we did not have an English language stenographer to record orders. We have only one protection officer and no law officer at all. It is because I have knowledge of the law the commission is surviving. A law officer is must for the commission for legal understanding and opinion. And with just one protection officer, we have to largely depend on other forces, such as the police and the Child Welfare Committee among other agencies, for fieldwork consultations."

Battling it alone
"Earlier, it was only about protection of child rights. Now, we have to look after cases under three different Acts — Juvenile Justice Act, Right To Education Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Not to mention the rise in heinous crimes being reported in the media, which the commission takes cognisance of as its moral responsibility," Tripathi added.

"The state must help us if we are to deliver efficiently. Not only appointment of staff, but we also need financial assistance to conduct awareness programmes and other activities. These activities come under the responsibilities defined for the commission. With the absence of funding and the workload getting heavier, all of this is becoming difficult." Despite repeated attempts, the Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Vidya Thakur, remained unavailable for comment.

60
Cases disposed of and awaiting the final order

4cr
Grant (in R) the commission has demanded

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