Without chairperson and members, Bihar women’s commission is failing victims
- The current situation only complicates the existing challenges for the commission that is already grappling with cases pending for the last several months
Without a chairperson and members since November 2020, the Bihar state women commission is failing in its mandate to watch over women’s rights as it is forced to turn away scores of female victims that knock on its doors on a daily basis, according to a staff of the commission.
The former team running the office of the state women commission, including its chairperson, completed its full three- year term on October 31, 2020.
“In absence of the chairperson and the members, cases cannot be registered in person at the commission. In fact, the complaints have to be entered into the register only in the presence of the officials. This is why complainants are not being allowed access to the complaint register,” said Vinita Kumari, an employee at the state women commission.
Staff members like Vinita Kumari have to face the wrath of dozens of complainants, several of whom turn up at the commission’s Patna office from other districts, with hopes of justice, only to be told that their complaints cannot be registered with the rights body.
“When refused to be allowed to make an entry, many often lose the patience and temper,” Vinita Kumari said.
The current situation only complicates the existing challenges for the commission that is already grappling with cases pending for the last several months due to the restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.
“Though the cases sent through the posts were being received, the hearing of cases could not be possible due to the norms of social distancing. The complainants and other parties involved were not given the dates to appear in person at the family court held at the women commission’s office. For months, there has been no hearing,” Vinita said.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, over 3000 complaints have been received by the commission and only 1,618 of these could be disposed of. Even in 2019, only 2,695 cases were sorted out from amongst the 3,344 complaints received.
“It’s mainly the victims who are at the receiving end. They turn up with high hopes and here they are not allowed even to make an entry of their grievances since we are not authorised to receive it,” Vinita added.
The social welfare minister, Ashok Chaudhary, could not be contacted for his comments.
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