The Arvind Kejriwal government slapped a showcause notice on Delhi Commission for Women chief Barkha Singh on Friday, asking why she should not be removed from the post for allegedly abusing power in dealing with a complaint against ruling AAP leader Kumar Vishwas.
The government has asked Singh, a former Congress MLA who is due to retire as DCW chief in July, to file her reply to the showcause notice within three days which it said was issued following complaints against her by a member of the panel.
Complaints have been received from Juhi Khan, member of DCW, "bringing to the notice of the government the irregular activities being carried out by you (Singh) in the capacity of chairperson of DCW while dealing with a complaint filed by someone against Kumar Vishwas," the showcause notice said.
Earlier this month, the DCW chief had issued summons to Vishwas after an AAP volunteer accused him of not rebutting "rumours" about an illicit liaison with her and ruining her reputation. DCW member Khan had protested the summons to Vishwas and accused Singh of trying to defame the AAP leader.
"The notice issued by the Commission to Vishwas does not in any way relate to any of the matters it can deal and prima facie the manner in which the notice has been issued is outside the scope of the Commission of which you are the chairperson.
"Further, the persons connected to the alleged incident are residents of state of Uttar Pradesh and the place of alleged incident is also in UP, hence prima facie, your notice is beyond the jurisdiction of the Commission," the government said in the notice.
It said Singh, on May 5, held a press conference on the issue though there is no provision in the 'Complaint Handling Policy' of the Commission to hold public press conference in any matter when such case is pending before DCW for decision.
"At this press conference, you (Singh) had not only prevented another member of the Commission from placing her views but also you in person had maligned the member of Commission in full public view only because she had a different viewpoint and further you charged her of being
member of AAP without any such facts being placed before you," the notice said.
When asked about the issue, the DCW chief said she has received the notice but asserted that she has done nothing wrong.
"I have done nothing wrong. I have always been working for the cause of the distressed women and I had never accused Kumar Vishwas nor do I have any personal enmity against him.
"It was when I received a complaint from this woman, who also had worked for his party only in Amethi, that I asked him to come to the Commission just to help save the family of the woman which is falling apart," she said.
In the notice, the AAP government also alleged that the DCW has embroiled itself in party politics by summoning peopleon flimsy ground and also violated the rules of conduct by putting the issue before the media which has lowered the image of the institution in public eyes as it is seen serving the cause of a political party and not the women in need and distress.
"In the press conference held on May 5, you (Singh) criticised Vishwas publicly even though the matter was pending for inquiry before the Commission.
"You on May 5 also issued another notice to him for his appearance for May 6 in unprecedented manner and in violation of clause g (ii) of 'Complaint Handling Policy' which mandated at least 15 days prior notice to be given to the parties," the government said.
On Thursday, the DCW chief had approached the Lt Governor and Delhi Police seeking "stringent" action against AAP leader Kumar Vishwas, alleging that he was behind the posting of a series of "inappropriate" and "objectionable" tweets on her.
"Your notice to Vishwas not only shows your bias against Vishwas, but also shows that your actions are politically motivated and thereby, prima facie it appears that you are abusing the powers of chairperson of the Commission," the notice said.
It further said, "In view of the these facts and circumstances, prima facie, in the opinion of the government, you (Singh) have abused your position as chairperson in such manner that you have rendered your continuance in office detrimental to the public interest, notice stated.
"Hence, you are directed to show cause as to why you should not be removed from the office of chairperson because of you aforesaid misconduct. The reply should reach to the office of Pr Secretary of Women and Child Development within three days."