With the Odisha Government dilly-dallying constitution of a full-fledged State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, the matter has reached the Orissa High Court (HC).
After a PIL was filed in the HC, a Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice SK Mishra has issued a notice to the State Government asking it to reply within two weeks. The state commission has been running with just a chairperson in place. Other members are yet to be appointed. In September 2010, Saraswati Hembrum was appointed chairperson, but the six members, as mandated by the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, have not been appointed yet.
In his petition, human rights activist Prabir Kumar Das submitted that the state commission was conceived as a multi-member body but while the State Government has been spending public funds for meeting the expenses of the panel, the body itself has not been constituted properly.
The petitioner said the rampant violation of child rights in the State warrants proper constitution of a full-fledged commission in terms of the Act for enabling it to play its legitimate role in enforcing the legislation. But it was intriguing that the State Government so far has not constituted the commission despite the media reporting several violations of child rights on a day to day basis.
As per the 2005 Act, the six members must be from different sectors having experience in fields such as education, child care, welfare or child development, juvenile justice, child labour, child psychology and laws relating to children. Two of the members have to be women.