Saturday, November 29, 2014

NCW to get powers of NHRC. Can fine accused enter premises seize records etc Can Try Civil suits, summon and enforce attendance of witness !!

NCW to get teeth, can probe, fine accused

Pradeep Thakur,TNN | Nov 30, 2014, 12.31 AM IST
NCW to get teeth, can probe, fine accused
The law ministry last week cleared the related NCW (amendment) Act, finally agreeing to give it all powers of the NHRC, except a few which remain exclusive to the human rights body. 

NEW DELHI: Short of giving the national commission for women (NCW) arrest powers, the government has decided to enable the NCW Act with almost all the provisions of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). This gives the commission enough teeth to investigate an accused and enables it to impose penalty on those who refuse to adhere to its summons.

Long considered as a toothless body where it could not even ensure adherence to its summons despite rising crimes against women, the Narendra Modi government has decided to give the NCW powers of a civil court, similar to the NHRC where it can ask the police to take into custody any repeat offender and ask investigative agencies to probe a case and submit a report within a fixed timeframe.

The law ministry last week cleared the related NCW (amendment) Act, finally agreeing to give it all powers of the NHRC, except a few which remain exclusive to the human rights body. The NCW bill, sources said, would also provide for appointment of a chairperson from retired Supreme Court or High Court judges or an eminent jurist.

However, this would in no way impact the incumbent NCW chairperson who is in office for a three-year period. Unlike, the NHRC chairperson who is appointed for a period of five years, the NCW chief is appointed for a period of three years.

Sources said the law ministry has agreed to the proposed amendments where the NCW may be given powers similar to the NHRC but not powers of arrest as demanded by the commission earlier.

Once civil court powers are accorded to NCW, it will have the authority to ask the police to ensure that its summons are adhered to, and seek action against those who repeatedly ignore its orders. When imposing penalty, it will be mandatory on a district magistrate to recover the penalty amount by issuing a formal order from the judicial magistrate of the area and deposit the same with the state exchequer.

Earlier, the law ministry had differed with the ministry of women and child development on conferring same powers to NCW as NHRC. The law ministry's objections were on the grounds that giving such powers to the commission was not possible since every member and chairman of the NHRC is a judicial member, unlike the NCW.

With an enabling provision to have a judicial member as its chairperson, the law ministry has now agreed for NHRC powers to be accorded to the NCW.

source : Times of India : TNN | Nov 30, 2014


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