Updated: April 9, 2014 5:21:56 pm
A recent letter to Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) accuses a housing society of subjecting a five-year-old to emotional,mental and sexual harassment after he urinated in an elevator.
My child was forcibly taken to the society office,made to watch CCTV footage showing him urinating,and threatened. Many society members were called to the office to watch the footage. They tarnished the image of my child,instigating other children in the society to give him an offensive nickname. My child has been through trauma. I plead for justice and responsible action against the wrongdoers, the complaint registered on June 29 says.
The commission,which has to deal with such complex and sensitive issues,however,has been member-less since December 2,2011,when its term ended.
Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act 2005 mandates the panel should have six members,including two women,apart from a chairperson. But it is functioning with an acting chairman, Ujjwal Uke,since August 2012.
Uke,principal secretary,ministry of women and child welfare,is also acting chairman of women commission.
The result is 410 pending cases.
Said lawyer Mihir Desai: When it comes to marginalised sections,the government is quick to make laws but implementation is poor. I am not surprised a regular (child) commission has not been appointed for long. Governments are more interested in making noise,they fail to respond to issues at the ground level.
The youngest commission in the state,MSCPCR was started in 2008. It covers Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009,Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 and Juvenile Justice Act 2006.
In the last three-four years,all commissions in Maharashtra have been rendered near-ineffective. Some are functioning without members and some without chairpersons. A child rights commission deals with extremely complex issues,such indifference is disappointing. The commissions were to be parallel watchdogs,this is an unfortunate situation. Why have the commissions if you cannot give them human resources and basic facilities? said professor Vijay Raghavan,chairperson,Centre for Criminology and Justice,School of Social Work,Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
Uke and commission secretary A N Tripathi conduct hearings in a small courtroom at the MSCPCR office on the third floor of the government transport service building in Worli.
Sources said the office was short-staffed.
It needs 20-30 people above the sanctioned staff,which itself is not there.
We are closely following the issue (of staff crunch) with the state government and trying to understand the hiccups. With child policies being framed in the state and considering the sensitive cases that come to MSCPCR,there is an urgent need for a regular commission. Names have been sent to the state to make the necessary appointments, said Bina S Lashkari,former member of MSCPCR.
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