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Maneka ignored in NCW appointment
Vatsala Shrangi  New Delhi | 20th Sep 2014

he Centre has appointed Lalitha Kumaramangalam as the chief of the National Commission for Women (NCW) ignoring the wishes of the Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, who wanted a non-political person with a law background to head the organisation. Lalitha was made a national spokesperson in the team of new BJP president Amit Shah. Sources said that having a law background has been an important consideration, though not mandatory, for short listing candidates for the position. Gandhi, soon after taking charge, floated a Cabinet note in which she proposed that retired judges or people having legal expertise only be appointed to the post of the chairperson. The proposal at present is under the scrutiny of the Law Ministry. Sources said the appointment was made ignoring her proposal. Gandhi ducked the issue and said, "The decision has been taken by the government and the Prime Minister. I have met the new chief and she has a strong advocacy on women's issues."

Kumaramanglam, an economics graduate from St Stephen's College, Delhi University also has a management degree from Madras University and runs an NGO called Prakriti. She told this correspondent, "I don't think not having a law degree can become a hiccup. My entire family comprises lawyers. I believe that my experience of running an NGO will come handy in my work at the commission. It has taught me how to work with a cross-section of people such as the police and bureaucracy," she said. To give more teeth to the commission, the WCD Minister proposed to make Amendments to the National Commission for Women Act, 1990. However, the Law ministry is yet to act on the proposal. The WCD had also proposed making the NCW a law enforcement agency, for which it had suggested that, a DGP (director-general of police) rank officer be appointed the head of its investigation wing. According to sources, the Ministry of Home Affairs has also given its approval to the proposed requirement.

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