The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday sought explanation from the state government on why it was not appointing chairperson and other non-official members to the Punjab State Commission for Women.
A division bench of the court, comprising acting chief Justice Jasbir Singh and justice Rakesh Jain, was responding to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a local NGO named HELP.
Petitioner Parvinder Singh, general secretary of the NGO, had stated that one post of chairperson and five posts of non-official members in the commission were lying vacant.
The post of chairperson had not been filled since December 30, 2011, while the other non-official members had retired after completion of their tenure in the intervening period.
The petition stated that the commission had become totally non-functional since May 2012, as there was only one non-official member, who was also not being paid salary by the state government.
The PIL stated that as per the information received under the right to information (RTI) Act, the various employees of the commission were getting salary and allowances to the tune of Rs 4.15 lakh per month.
The petitioner argued that the commission was not conducting its regular meetings even though it had received around 1,300 complaints during the year 2010-11 and 611 till July 2012.
He accused the state government of showing indifferent attitude to the commission, despite the fact that it was a statutory body, and the government was under legal obligation to make appointments to this commission.
Arguing before the bench, the counsel for the petitioner stated that the recent suicide committed by a Jalandhar-based college girl, Shivali, went unnoticed since the commission, whose duty it was to protect the human rights of the women, was not functioning at all.