Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti, on Saturday accused Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Barkha Singh of taking political advantage of her position. Bharti said she “is a Congress member and should have resigned after her party’s term ended”. Singh, however, maintained that while there was no question of her resigning, it was the “law minister who needed to resign.”
Barkha Singh said if she had been vested with the powers to “summon an aam aadmi by the Constitution, then why not Somnath Bharti”. She has also sent a letter to the Lieutenant-Governor regarding the matter and said a meeting was likely to take place on Monday.
Bharti had earlier said that Singh’s actions were politically motivated. “The DCW is trying to defame me, will take them to court,’’ Bharti had said.
Singh said, “I am a member of the Congress party. But when I am doing my job as the chairperson of the DCW, it’s a different matter. Bharti had ignored two previous notices and this was the third. We will take the matter up with the L-G and demand his immediate resignation.”
The National Commission for Women also backed Singh: “Delhi Commission for Women is a constitutional body and has acted within its powers. It’s the minister who took law into his own hands. We are demanding strong action against him,” NCW chairperson Mamta Sharma said.
The DCW had summoned Bharti on Friday and asked him to depose before the commission, but Bharti didn’t turn up. He had sent his lawyers instead, who claimed that his absence was due to some urgent matter.
Bharti’s lawyers and Barkha Singh had a public confrontation at the DCW office after she did not allow them to present the minister’s response. The Aam Aadmi Party, in a statement, had said they strongly disapproved of the “politicisation” of the matter and termed it a “well thought-out plan” to divert attention from the real issue.
In her letter sent to the L-G office, Barkha Singh said the details of the proceedings had been included. She had directed attention to Somnath Bharti’s lawyer, Hrishikhesh Kumar, misbehaving with her and she had also attached the statements of the Ugandan women who had alleged that they had been misbehaved with.
Singh was among the many DCW members who didn’t resign after the Congress defeat, in spite of Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely’s “suggestion” that they do so. Lovely reasoned that the Congress was no longer in power, it would be better for leaders to step down as in many of these cases, nominations depend on the discretionary power of the government.