You are here: Home » Current Affairs » News » National
Business Standard

Govt pushes for civil court status for NCW

Women and Child Development Ministry proposes changes to National Commission for Women Act, 1990

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Gangrape, Juvenile, Nirbhaya, Delhi
Students display placards against release of juvenile convict in Nirbhaya case, in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

Buoyed by the passage of the Juvenile Justice Bill which had been stuck in Parliament for one-and-a-half years, the Women and Child Development Ministry now plans to push for amendments to the NCW Act to add more teeth to the body like powers to order arrest and penalise.

The proposal for amendments to the Commission for Women (NCW) Act, 1990, seeks to give the body powers of a civil court including the authority to order police to arrest an accused in cases of crime against women, investigate, summon and penalise, in order to enhance it to the level of the Human Rights Commission.

However, the proposal has been in limbo for the past more than one year as it was forwarded to an inter-ministerial committee headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitely, which dropped some of the key proposed amendments.

Among those disapproved by the committee includes the power to impose a penalty of up to Rs 5,000 if a person fails to turn up after being summoned, the clause to empower it to arrest a person and authorisation to search and seize any documents related to a case being investigated by it.

"The Commission gets thousands of complaints in a month but they only manage to look into one or two because they cannot do anything except sending them to the state concerned, which further sends them to districts," a senior ministry official said.

The Commission is considered a toothless body with only advisory powers due to which it is not taken seriously, the official said.

"It cannot even penalise those summoned fail to turn up to attend the commission's hearings. If they have the power they will be feared the same way as SC/ST Commissions are feared," he said.

For the authorities like search and seizure, the Commission will need to have a judicial magistrate-level official as its member.

"NCW cannot be given search and seizure powers as it is only given to commissions headed by judicial officers. So it may not be valid for NCW in certain cases," he said.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, which provides for lowering the age for trial from 18 years in cases of heinous crime, was passed by Rajya Sabha in December amid a debate triggered by the release of the juvenile (now adult) convict in the December 16 gang-rape.

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Sun, January 03 2016. 09:57 IST