The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) on Friday accused its newly appointed Member Secretary of stopping the salaries of the contractual staff and said this could derail the women's body.
DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal dubbed as illegal the October 7 appointment by Delhi's Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung of Alka Diwan as a Member Secretary in the DCW.
"New Member Secretary appointment not as per DCW Act. She's a serving government officer and works part time in the DCW. Disobeys decisions of DCW, attacks autonomy of DCW," Maliwal tweeted.
She said the staff of the Commission worked "round the clock" even on Saturdays to help women and girls in distress. "Not paying them salary on Diwali is inhuman."
The Aam Aadmi Party's Maliwal attacked the central government and said it was not allowing the DCW to work as it was doing "good work".
"Stop rapes, not salaries," she said. "Worried 181, Rape Crisis Cell of DCW may soon stop as staff may leave. Fifty-two staff get less than Rs 25,000. Member Secretary refusing to advertise posts also."
Maliwal said she was sad that on the one hand, crimes against women and girls were rising in Delhi and on the other hand "certain vested interests" were targeting the autonomy of the Commission by appointing Diwan.
Alleging that the appointment of Diwan, who is also the VAT Commissioner, was illegal and not in accordance with the DCW Act, she said in a statement: "Diwan's appointment to the Commission is absolutely illegal for there has been no notification from the government.
"She is also a serving government officer presently posted as the VAT Commissioner and has been given the additional charge of Member Secretary of the Commission.
"This is in violation of the DCW Act which calls for a full-time Member Secretary and is a direct way of subverting the autonomy of the Commission."
The statement said the employees in the Commission were mostly women, including acid attack survivors, dowry harassment victims and orphans from Nari Niketan.
"The staff have put in their hearts and souls into the functioning of the Commission, thereby making it pro-active rights body it is today.
"The new Member Secretary has refused to release two months' salary to the contractual staff. Diwali has become 'black and dark' for the DCW staff," the statement said.
To work towards ensuring the safety of women and girls in Delhi, the Commission had a mandate of monitoring the work of the central and state governments, it said.
"In such a scenario, attempts are being made to break the autonomy of the Commission by appointing a serving IAS officer working in the government and on a part time basis in the Commission."
Stating that the workload of the DCW had gone up exponentially, it said: "While the previous Chairperson dealt with only one case in eight years, the Commission handled 11,696 complaints last year alone and 2.16 lakh calls through its 181 women Helpline in the past six months.
"And 5,733 cases have been dealt with by the Rape Crisis Lawyers in courts since its expansion, 1,869 sexual assault cases dealt with by Crisis Intervention Centre counsellors and over 7,500 visits undertaken by the Commission since its revamp.
"There has been no notification from the government about the appointment (of Diwan) and has simply been done through an office order."
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)