|Demand of the question
Introduction. Contextual introduction.
Body. Discuss the major role of the National Commission for Women. Mention majority limitations of the National Commission for Women making it toothless.
Conclusion. Way forward.
The National Commission for Women was set up in 1992 under the National commission Act. It was established to review the constitutional and legal safeguards for women. It recommends remedial legislative measures, facilitates redressal of grievances and advises the government on all policy matters affecting the women. It enjoys all the powers of a civil court. But there are many limitations that prevent it from working towards women with ease.
Major role of National Commission for Women:
- Investigation and Examination: NCW investigate and examine all the matters related to the safeguards provided for the women under the Constitution and other laws.
- Presentation of Reports: It table reports to the central government, every year and at such other times as the commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards
- Recommendation to government: Make in such reports and recommendations, for the effective accomplishment of those safeguards for enhancing the conditions of the women by the Union or any State.
- Legislative reviews: Review, every now and then, the current provisions of the Constitution and other laws distressing the women and prescribe alterations and suggest curative legislative measures meet any break, inadequacies and incapacity in such legislation.
- Cases of violation: Take up cases of infringement of the provisions of the Constitution and of other laws relating to the women with the relevant authorities.
- Suo motu notice: It looks into complaints, and takes Suo Motto notice of matters relating to – deprivation of women’s rights, Non-implementation of the laws and Non-compliance of the policy decisions guaranteeing the welfare for women society.
- Special Studies and Investigation: It conducts special studies or investigation on the concerning issues or circumstance emerging out of segregation and outrages against ladies and recognises the limitations in order to suggest techniques for their expulsion
- Research: It also undertakes promotional and educational research so as to propose ways of ensuring due representation of the women in all fields.
Major limitations of National Commission for Women making it toothless:
- Not concrete powers: The NCW is only recommendatory and has no power to enforce its decisions. Often it takes action only if the issues are brought to light. Unreported cases of oppression and suppression of women are not attended to.
- Legal powers: Commission lacks constitutional status, and thus has no legal powers to summon police officers or witnesses. Also, it has no power to take legal actions against the Internal Complaint Committees that prevent grievance redressal of women facing harassment.
- Less funding: NCW’s functions are dependent on the grants offered by the central government. Financial assistance provided to the Commission is very less to cater to its needs.
- Political interference: It does not have the power to choose its own members. The power selecting members is vested with the Union government leading to political interference at various levels.
Steps need to be taken:
- Staff selection: Commission must be granted the power of selecting its own members. The members should be chosen without any prejudice and should have fair knowledge of law and understands the society and human behaviour.
- Awareness generation: More awareness has to be created especially among the rural women about the existence of the Commission. The Commission can employ a person at the district level to bring into light the atrocities occurring at the district level.
- Legal powers: Functioning of the NCW has to be strengthened and given more legal powers as part of any effort to strengthen the laws for safety of women at the workplace. The chairperson of NCW should be given the status of the Union Cabinet Minister and the members that of minister of state.
- Funding: Centre must devolve more funds to NCW. NCW should have an independent budget and must not be dependent on the Women and Child Development Ministry for funds.
Though the NCW have done some good work for the women in India, the above mentioned shortcomings must be addressed. NCW was instrumental in various campaigns, for example, against triple talaq. But at numerous times the Commission has not been able to come up to the expectations of women in India. Empowering NCW with enough powers can help in making it more efficient.