Top court frowns on child panel

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  • Published 27.02.14

New Delhi, Feb. 26: The Supreme Court has criticised political appointments in the top child rights body and stopped fresh entries till the Centre comes up with selection guidelines and issue ads to fill vacancies.

The court has given the Union women and child development ministry six weeks to come up with the norms on the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The bar on appointments will apply till then.

“Receiving applications only from candidates recommended by ministers, MPs and other functionaries may not be right... it may have the effect of rendering the selection process suspect,” the court said in its order yesterday on a PIL against the appointment of a former member, Congress leader Yogesh Dube. It also said the system was unfair to those “not resourceful enough to secure such recommendations”.

Sources in the ministry said the guidelines would be ready on time. If the order is followed, the NCPCR will be one of the few statutory bodies to appoint members through ads instead of recommendations.

Activists have long protested what they termed arbitrary appointments at NCPCR, formed in 2007. Under the Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, the members are to be appointed from among persons of eminence with experience in education, child welfare and juvenile justice and children’s issues.

But many NCPCR members have attracted controversy. Dube had contested the 2009 Maharashtra elections and lost amid allegations he ran a bar. Another ex-member, who headed the child psychology and sociology section in the NCPCR, had been a banker for 23 years. Yet another was a corporate lawyer for 17 years.

Present chairperson Kushal Singh is a retired bureaucrat. The six-member panel has been operating with just Singh for three months as other members have ended their terms.