Millennium Post

Should rape crisis cell be shut down: HC asks LG Office

Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Office of Lieutenant Governor to clearly state whether the rape crisis and other cells, run on court orders by Delhi Commission for Women, should be shut down over alleged illegal appointment of staff by the women's panel.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva also asked the LG's Office to make its stand clear on whether all appointments made by the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) were illegal or only some of them.

The court sought clarification on whether the LG's Office intended to make fresh appointments to run these cells and asked the Centre's standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, appearing for the Lieutenant Governor, to take instructions on these issues.

The matter was listed for further hearing on February 9.

The clarifications were sought after LG's Office in an affidavit claimed that DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal had "no power or authority to arbitrarily, unilaterally, unauthorisedly engage or appoint employees" in DCW and should have approached the competent authority if more manpower was needed.

Maliwal is an accused in a case of alleged irregularities in the recruitment process of the DCW and a trial court has directed Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) of Delhi
government to further probe and identify her associates in the crime.

Meanwhile, advocate Rajshekhar Rao, appearing for DCW, said since the cells have budget sanction till March 31, 2017, the workers should be allowed to be paid till then. He also asked Delhi government to consider DCW's staffing requests.

The court was hearing a plea filed by advocate Amita Singh Kalkal, on behalf of 97 employees of DCW, for a direction to the commission to disburse the salaries of these individuals who have not been paid since September last year.

It had in December last year directed DCW to disburse 50 per cent arrears of salary to its 62 workers and then on January 18, 2017, the relief was extended to 35 others who had moved the court, subsequently.

It had also directed the commission to provide records of the staff appointed without approval of the Lieutenant Governor.

The petitioners have claimed that with their help, DCW has dealt with 11,696 complaints since July 2015 and in view of the work being done by the commission with their help, Delhi government transferred 181 helpline programmes to them.
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