As per news reports, the National Commission for Women is sending a notice to Gujarat government on the alleged ‘snooping’ case. The commission is well within its rights to do so, as the custodian watchdog of women’s rights in the country. Having said that, it is also the commission’s sacred duty to act in a completely non-partisan manner. However, the manner in which the National Commission of Women has been selectively picking up cases to take cognizance of indicates otherwise.
The commission did not consider it necessary to send any notice against the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien, against whom serious allegations of raping a minor exist. It did not even suggest that he step down from the post till the allegations against him are investigated. Similarly, the Congress leader and Rajasthan minister Mahipal Maderna, accused of raping and murdering Bhanwari Devi, did not draw the ire of the commission. Nor did Gopal Kanda, who was implicated in the suicide of a former airhostess and his close associate. Incidentally, Gopal Kanda also belongs to the Congress party. While the commission did not demand a report in any of these incidents, it was prompt to do so in a case involving the death of the maid of a BSP MP, or in the case of the death of a teacher in BJD ruled Orissa.
The selective targeting of cases involving non-congress politicians by the NCW becomes a little clear when we take a look at who is the chairperson of the commission – Mamta Sharma. A congress politician, she has just been given a congress ticket from Bundi in Rajasthan. Amongst the members of the commission is Nirmala Samant Prabhavalkar, who was the Congress Mayor of Mumbai, and fought the 2004 elections from Malad on a Congress ticket. In fact she was, at one time, a contender for the post of Maharashtra Congress Chief – apparently has now be rehabilitated in the NCW. Ms Shamina Shafiq, another member is, as per her details on the NCW website, “An academician turned politician having a strong political background…She hails from an illustrious political family with her mother-in-law Late Smt. Salma begum (may peace be upon her) also a veteran Congress leader and member of UPCC and AICC.” She has served as state Secretary UP Mahila Congress and as Member AICC. The packing of NCW, and also of the Delhi Commission for Women, with political appointees and loyal bureaucrats, was commented upon by the Hindu.
Congress is a past master in packing vital institutions with its sympathizers and then using the same institutions for narrow political gains. It has had to face the ignominy of the Supreme Court striking down the appointment (despite a dissent note by the leader of the opposition) of tainted bureaucrat PJ Thomas to the post of CVC as illegal, and of the same Supreme Court calling the CBI a “caged parrot”.
Going by the track record of the Congress, the current composition of the NCW, and the selective manner in which it has chosen to pursue cases with political implications in the recent past, the latest action by the NCW can only be seen as politically motivated.