The state government’s attempt to revive the long defunct Andhra Pradesh Women’s Commission is only at the beginning stage with the appointment of chairperson and members, newly-appointed chairperson of the commission Tripuraneni Venkatarathnam has said. The government should pump life into it by appointing staff and allocating budget.
Speaking at the day-long workshop organised by the commission on “Women’s Challenges to Overcome”, at the Jubilee Hall here on Saturday, she said the commission’s five-member committee is ready to work round the clock to find solutions to the problems being faced by the women in the state, if the government extends support by appointing required staff and making budget allocation. Mere appointment of commission members will yield no results, she said.
AP State Lokayukta Justice B Subhashan Reddy pointed to the government’s lack of commitment in implementing the various laws meant for women like the Andhra Pradesh Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act, 2002. Justice Reddy said he ensured enactment of the Act in 2002 when he was chairman of the State Women’s Rights Commission. The government was directed to appoint district collectors, MDOs and panchayat secretaries as marriage officers of their respective areas, but today even the district collectors do not know that they are also marriage officers, even 11 years after the Act was enacted, he said.
He has found out the collectors’ lack of knowledge of the Act during review meetings as a Lokayuktha with some of them recently, he said.
Justice Reddy, a former chief justice of Madras and Kerala high courts, asked minister for women development and child welfare V Sunitha Lakshma Reddy, who was present at the meeting, to take responsibility for the effective implementation of the Act to protect women.
He asked the government to educate the marriage officers at all levels over the Act before educating people of the importance of registering a marriage.
Wedding halls must be made responsible for registering marriages performed there and NGOs need to be involved to ensure that all marriages are registered.
The Lokayukta also urged the women’s commission and the women welfare minister to bring a scheme to protect witnesses in cases related to women and children. It will help bring down crimes against women and children, he said.
Referring to objectionable scenes in TV progammes and movies, he said that 80 percent of the scenes deserve to be censored.
Minister Sunitha Lakshma Reddy urged the Centre to create separate courts for dealing with women’s cases to expedite trail. AP Women’s Commission members, representatives of various women’s organisations and representatives of NGOs were present. Commission chairperson Tripuraneni Venkatarathnam presided.