Chandigarh has no women commission
If you are looking to move a complaint to enforce women’s rights in the city through a women’s commission, then you are headed nowhere as the UT does not have its own panel or any affiliation with a state or national women’s commission.
Women comprise 45% of the city’s population.
The matter came to the fore recently when a woman officer of the UT administration tried to file a complaint of harassment against a citizen. Despite approaching the UT administration and exploring its websites, she couldn’t find a clue as to how to lodge her complaint with a women’s commission.
The women’s commissions can look into complaints or take suo motu notice of matters relating to deprivation of women’s rights and non-implementation of laws enacted to provide protection to women. They also ensure equality, besides development and compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating hardships and ensuring welfare and providing relief to women. They also take up the issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities.
The National Commission for Women was set up under the Parliament Act in 1990, and the state/UT commissions were constituted 2000 onwards.
While other major UTs like Delhi and Puducherry have constituted commissions for women, Chandigarh still has none.
BL Sharma, secretary, social welfare, women and child development, said, “There is no women’s commission for Chandigarh. It is just a small city where having separate infrastructure for a commission is not viable. Complaints can be made to the National Commission for Women.”
However, the UT does not have any affiliation with the national body.
When contacted, an official of the national commission said, “There is no link between us and the UT but you may check with the Delhi Commission for Women.” A representative of the Delhi commission, too, said they had no link with Chandigarh nor are any complaints received from the city.
Confirming that the UT is not associated with women’s commission of any state either, Navjot Kaur, director, UT department of social welfare, said the complaints can be made to the department. She, however, had no clarity as to what happens to these complaints.
Expressing shock and concern, city-based advocate Ajay Jagga said, “What happens to a woman if other state institutions give no heed to her pleas for help? The women’s commissions were established to safeguard their rights, particularly when the state machinery fails them.”
When contacted, UT adviser Manoj Kumar Parida said, “We will associate the UT with the national or Delhi women’s commission soon.”
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