THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala government’s move to appoint chairperson of the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights by diluting the competence of the candidates has drawn flak. After the term of incumbent Child Rights chairman P Suresh, the state government has now almost finalised the head of the panel following a two-month selection process, including online interview.
As per the list, advocate Manojkumar, of Thalassery, has come on top and the interview board has also put M P Antony, member, Child Rights Commission, and S H Panchapakesan, Principal District and Session Judge, Kasaragod, in the waiting list.
After the list was prepared, it was handed over to state police for vigilance clearance. And in all likelihood, Manojkumar from Kannur will head the panel as per the current list, and he is close to the ruling party. But his candidature for the top post in the child rights panel came in for criticism as he has no major contribution or history of taking up the cause of children at the state or national level.
As per the qualifications of the shortlisted candidates published by the social justice department, his major connection with children was that he has imparted legal awareness class for adolescent girls with the cooperation of school PTAs, apart from acting as school management committee chairman of Brennen HSS, Thalassery.
But at the same time, there were outstanding profiles in the shortlisted candidates, including two district judges. As per the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Rules 2012, candidates should have done outstanding work for promoting the welfare of children and his work in promoting the welfare of children should have earned him one or more distinctions or awards at the state/national/ international level.
Or the candidates should be holding or have held a position that is of or above the rank of secretary to government. The government appointed Suresh as per the 2012 clause. According to sources, the state took a circuitous route to appoint a candidate who is close to the party. He is the son of a prominent communist leader. When TNIE contacted the social justice department senior officials, they refused to comment.