*Given powers to take suo-moto notice
JAMMU, Feb 8: In a major decision aimed at empowerment of the women, the Union Territory Government today approved constitution of “Jammu and Kashmir Commission for Women” with powers to investigate and examine all matters related to safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws, review existing provisions of the Constitution and take suo-moto notice of various issues related to women’s rights.
A formal order for constitution of the Women Commission was issued today by Secretary Social Welfare Department Sheetal Nanda by order of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.
To be headed by a Chairperson, who will be a woman committed to the cause of fair sex, the Commission will have five members who will be nominated by the Government having not less than 10 years experience in the field of women welfare, administration, economic development, health, education or social welfare.
At least one member of the Commission will be from Scheduled castes or Scheduled Tribes while the Member Secretary shall be a member of Civil Service of the Union or an All India Service holding rank of Special Secretary to Government or an expert in the field of management, organizational structure of sociological movement.
The Commission has been mandated to investigate and examine all matters related to safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws. It will recommended steps for effective implementation of those safeguards which can improve condition of women in the UT.
“From time to time, the Commission will review existing provisions of the Constitution and other laws affecting women and recommend amendments for remedial legislative measures to meet any lacunae, inadequacies or shortcomings in the legislation,” the officials said.
They added that the Commission will take up the cases of violation of provisions of the Constitution and other laws related to women with appropriate authorities.
The Commission has been empowered to look into complaints and take suo-moto notice of matters related to deprivation of women’s rights, non-implementation of laws enacted to provide protection to women and achieve object of equality and development and non-compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating hardships and ensuring welfare and providing relief to women; and take up the issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities.
The Commission can also call for special studies or investigations into specific problems or situations arising out of discrimination and atrocities against women and identify constraints so as to recommend strategies for their removal.
As per the officials, the Women’s Panel will undertake promotional and education research to suggest ways of ensuring due representation of women in all spheres and identify factors responsible for impeding their advancement like lack of access to housing and basic services, inadequate support services and technologies for reducing drudgery and occupational health hazards and for increasing their productivity.
“It will inspect a jail, remand home, women’s institution or other place of custody where women are kept as prisoners or otherwise and take up with concerned authorities for remedial action, if found necessary,” the officials said and added that the commission will fund litigation involving issues affecting a large body of women.
The Commission will submit periodical reports to the Government on any matter pertaining to women and in particular various difficulties under which women toil.
It will prepare its annual report giving full account of its activities during previous financial year and forward a copy to the Government.
Annual and Audit reports of the Commission will be laid before the Lieutenant Governor.