THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Throwing the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Rules 2012 to the wind, the state government has appointed party nominee K V Manojkumar as chairperson of the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
To appoint the CPM nominee, a panel headed by Health Minister K K Shailaja replaced the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Rules 2012 with the Commissions for the Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, which facilitated the appointment of a underqualified chairperson.
The Kerala Child Right Rules mandate that candidates should have done outstanding work for promoting the welfare of children. Further, this work should have earned them one or more distinctions or awards at the state, national or international levels conferred by the state government, central government or other recognized international bodies with documentary evidence to substantiate such claims of outstanding contributions.
Since the party nominee lacks these qualifications as per the 2012 Child Rights Rules, the state evoked the 2005 Act which only specifies that candidates should be persons of eminence and have done outstanding work for promoting the welfare of children. Since no criteria were suggested to define persons of eminence, the state government was able to appoint Manojkumar.
Interestingly, the party nominee, son of prominent CPM leader from Kannur who once headed the Thalassery Cooperative Hospital, was appointed by overlooking half a dozen candidates having outstanding credentials including two district judges. The Left government earlier appointed previous chairperson P Suresh in 2017 as per the 2012 rule.
The new chairperson has no major contribution or history of taking up the causes of children at the state or national level. As per the qualifications published by the social justice department, his major connection with children was that he has taken some legal awareness classes for girls with the cooperation of school PTAs, apart from acting as School Management Committee Chairman of Brennen HSS, Thalassery, for a period of three years.
The New Indian Express had first reported the government's move to appoint a party nominee chairperson throwing the 2012 rules to the wind. Now, the qualifications of the child rights panel head, which is equal to the rank of chief secretary, are even below the qualifications of its members.