3 years on, social welfare dept, police fail to reconstitute non-official advisory body

The hue and cry over the exploitation of women in the city does not seem to have awaken  the UT social welfare department and the police from their slumber: they have not reconstituted the non-official advisory body mandatory under the Suppression of Immoral Trafficking in Women and Girls Act (SITA), 1965, for the past three years.

The advisory body was last constituted and notified on October 10, 2008, the tenure of which expired on January 3, 2010.

The body is meant to assist the police in cases of immoral trafficking: while searching a premises, the police is to be accompanied by two members from the body, one of whom should be a woman. It must consist of not more than five members, selected from among the leading social workers of the area, including women wherever possible.

The police requested the UT director social welfare only on March 23, 2012, for issuing fresh notification, nealry two years after the tenure of the last panel had expired.

In a letter dated September 3, 2012, the director social welfare intimated the police department that the proposal for notification under the SIT Act was moved, but secretary social welfare had posited the need to increase representation of women on the committee, especially when it dealt with women's and girls' issues, and requested for a fresh proposal. Thereafter, the police department took more than six months to send a new proposal.

UT inspector general of police (IGP) RP Upadhyaya told HT that they had send three reminders to the social welfare department for reconstituting the advisory body. “The last reminder had been sent on March 23,” said the IGP, adding that the body was of great importance as it played a vital role in assisting the police and counselling the victims.

Despite repeated attempts, director of the UT social welfare department, Rajesh Jogpal, could not be contacted for comments.

City-based Right to Information (RTI) activist, who had appeared in the public hearing session held by UT administrator Shivraj Patil with a complaint against promotion of flesh trade on web portals, stated that higher officials should have brought the issue to the notice of the administrator so that the reconstitution of the advisory committee could have been expedited.


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