The Gujarat government on Wednesday told the High Court that Jagruti Pandya, wife of slain BJP leader Haren Pandya, was appointed as chairperson of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) for being a “science graduate” and “possessing rich experience of eight years as a science teacher”.
Defending its decision, the state government filed an affidavit before the High Court saying, “She is closely associated with various social activities for empowerment of women and child for last 12 years.”
The affidavit also said that “statutorily there is neither a bar nor a requirement so far as political affiliation is concerned, and therefore the challenge to her appointment as a chairperson can’t be questioned by the petitioner on the ground of political interference”.
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The petitioner, Chandravadan Dhruv, has alleged that “Pandya is associated with BJP and there is no provision in the act for appointment of political personalities”. While seeking removal of Pandya, the petitioner has alleged her appointment is “politically motivated.” The affidavit, signed by M L Bhagora, under secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment Department, was filed in the High Court in response to the PIL challenging Pandya’s appointment on the ground that the chairperson should be a person of eminence who should have done outstanding work for promotion of children’s welfare.
The affidavit stated, “…it is submitted that Jagrutiben H Pandya is having the requisite experience and exposure in the field of welfare of children and hence the allegation of the petitioner that the appointment of Jagruti H Pandya is in violation of section 17 (2) (a) of the commissions for protection of child rights act, 2005 is devoid of any merits and without any authority of law.”
The petitioner said he would file a rejoinder since the government’s response is “vague”. He said by merely saying that she has a “rich work experience is not enough to select a person to such a post”.
The state government has also denied that incumbent to the post of chairperson must have a masters degree in Psychology or child development. The reply said that there was no such statutory stipulation for this post.