With official body gone, Telangana children left vulnerable

Telangana State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, which monitors abuse and atrocity cases against children was dissolved last week.

Published: 23rd February 2017 05:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd February 2017 05:33 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Even as number of cases of child abuse and atrocities against children is seemingly on the rise in the state, future of these children seems bleak.  

With tenure of the last member of Telangana State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, a state body that functions under the aegis of National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights coming to an end on February 19, the commission stands dissolved.

In fact, since July 2015, with the other two members tendering their resignation, it was only Achyuta Rao who had been performing the duties of the commission. The commission stands dissolved with the child rights activist and advocate finishing his term.

One of the three members of the TSCPCR to resign in July 2015, Mamatha Raghuveer of NGO Tharuni, said, “Members cannot be removed from the post unless there is a proof of them committing a crime or if they resign from the post on their own.”

The commission was constituted in February 2014, a year after the Supreme Court pointed to 19 states including AP, that did not have a commission to set up one under Section 17 of the commission for the Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.

“We functioned as a six-member team despite the chairperson, Sujata Rao, a retired IAS officer, who resigned a week after. There was fund crunch and we didn’t have any infrastructure. We started looking at cases working with our own laptops. Our salaries were also not paid regularly, but we went on,” recalled Raghuveer.

Four months later, the state was bifurcated. “After the bifurcation, three of the six members who hailed from Andhra Pradesh were sent to work there while three of us remained in Telangana. One of the members resigned as he was offered a better position in the government. I resigned some time later as I was vexed too,” added Raghuveer.

The Act states that the position of the members in the commission is equal to that of a principal secretary. “However, we were paid as little as `11,000 or `12,000 for a brief time. We haven’t been paid any salaries since October 2014,” shared Achyuta Rao.

Raghuveer even moved to the court regarding the low salaries and the case is currently pending in the city High Court. In the one-and-a-half years that Raghuveer was on the job, they were able to take up 100 cases, travel to districts and conduct awareness and sensitisation programmes about protection of child rights.
Rao, on his part, kept issuing notices and demanding responses from various departments and the last one he issued was on February 18. He also represented the commission at the national level. Officials at the Women Development and Child Welfare Department(WDCWD), responsible for constituting the commission claims that they were unable to find suitable candidates for the posts.

“We issued a notification to fill in the vacancies, but we couldn’t proceed as we didn’t find candidates good enough for the posts. We are looking into the matter and very soon the Commission will be constituted,” said KRS Lakshmi Devi, joint director, WDCWD.



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