With the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chairperson Shantha Sinha all set to vacate her seat this May 17, neither the Union Ministry for Women and Child Development nor the Commission is still clear on who will head the national body which has the all important mandate to ensure that all laws, policies, programmes and administrative mechanisms are in consonance with the child rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath said: “It is true that we still haven’t selected a person to head the Commission but we feel that there is still time. We are keen on taking a person from outside the Commission, though a consensus on the matter has not been arrived at yet.”
Commission Members too say that while they are worried about the fact that NCPCR will be without a chairperson in the next two weeks, “we have very little say in the matter.”
“The Commission is the national nodal body for ensuring that child rights stay an integral part of the national policies and programmes and that States, district and block level agencies work towards ensuring that every child is given his due. It is essential that an organisation of national importance have a clear-cut selection procedure and that the next chairperson be announced soon,” added another member.
Speaking about her term at the NCPCR Shantha Sinha said: “I will go back to Hyderabad to teach political science but I will stay connected with issues relating to children and child rights. My six-year term at the Commission has been very challenging and fruitful and I look forward to my next innings.”
She, however, maintained that there was no concrete information about who will be selected or coming in to head the NCPCR yet.
Ms. Sinha also cleared the allegations against NCPCR members spending Rs.47 lakhs on air travel by five of its members (as admitted by the Commission in a response to a Right to Information question) stating that all travels were as per protocol.
“All the travels by our members are accounted for and there is no cause of concern,” she noted.
“We still haven’t selected a person…but we feel that there is still time”