For close to a month now, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) exists only on paper, with neither chairperson nor any of its six members in saddle. Women and child development secretary V S Oberoi is holding additional charge as NCPCR chairperson, pending the decision of a three-member committee on the appointment of a chairperson and subsequent appointment of members by the Central government.
Seats in the commission fell vacant after the tenure of former NCPCR chairperson Kushal Singh and the other six members ended on October 10. Incidentally, Singh had a rocky relationship with the NDA government ever since it took over in May. She alleged that she received “feelers” from the government to step down, but she refused to do so and stayed on till the end of her term.
Sources in the Women and Child Development Ministry said a three-member committee headed by Minister Maneka Gandhi is currently looking at the applications received for the NCPCR top post, advertisements for which were floated a couple of months back. Once the chairperson is appointed, the six members—dealing with education, child development, care of neglected/marginalised children, elimination of child labour, child psychology and laws related to children—will be nominated. According to the NCPCR Act, of the six members of the commission, two have to be women. Members need to be persons of eminence in the fields for which they are appointed.
A senior official of the Ministry said: “Unlike the NCW Act which gives the Central government powers to nominate a chairperson, the NCPCR Act is very specific about the mode of selection.”