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HC quashes appointment of child rights panel member

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ASSOCIATION FOR DEVELOPMENT AND ANR.  Versus  UOI AND ORS.

W.P. (C) 1055/2011, C.M. APPL. 2239/2011, 5093/2013 & 13341/2013

The petitioners, in these writ proceedings, under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, challenge the appointment of the second and third W.P. (C) 1055/2011 respondent named as Dr. Dube and Mr. Tikoo, respectively) as members of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (hereafter “NCPCR” or “the Commission”) under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 (hereafter “the Act”) and to that end, quash the notification issued on 22-11-2010.

With less than two weeks left in his tenure, the appointment of Yogesh Dube as a member of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was on 10 November 2013, quashed by the Delhi High Court.

Yogesh Dube and Vinod Tikoo were appointed to the NCPCR in 2010 amidst controversy regarding the selection panel as well as stiff opposition from some NGOs.

The Association for Development, through its president Raaj Mangal Prasad, and HAQ Centre for Child Rights, whose co-director was also a candidate for appointment to the Commission, had filed a writ petition in 2011 against the appointment of Dube and Tikoo as expert members, claiming that the appointment was made for "collateral reasons" and ignored "several meritorious candidates."

Referring to an earlier judgment of the High Court issued in February 2010 on a similar plea, the petition filed by the NGOs had claimed that the appointments were in violation of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act since the proper procedure had not been followed for selection of members.

In 2010, the same organisations had filed a plea before the High Court alleging that the selection committee members were being "pressurised" into choosing members with certain political affiliations. The court had at the time directed the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry to display the names and credentials of candidates online to ensure transparency.

According to the petition, the procedure for calling for applications through advertisements in newspapers had not been followed, raising allegations of arbitrariness and nepotism from the NGOs.

"The response to an RTI application clearly stated that no advertisement was placed by the ministry for filling the posts of members of the NCPCR," said the plea, adding that while the names of the possible candidates had been displayed on the WCD Ministry website, there had been no information on who should be approached in case any objections have to be raised.

The plea also alleged that the selection committee had taken no steps to verify the credentials of the candidates "despite serious questions being raised about their suitability."

The bench of Justice S Ravindra Bhat and Justice Najmi Waziri said."Writ petition is allowed. Appointment of respondent no. 2 is hereby quashed,"

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the WCD Ministry has so far declined to comment till the copy of the judgment is received.

For further Information Contact:

litigation.delhi@hrln.org

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HRLN is a division of the Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC). SLIC is a non-profit legal aid and educational organization, registered under the Registration of Societies Act, 1860, Indian Public Trust Act, 1950 and the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act, 1976.