Independent charge eludes Disabilities Commissioner

Two years after the Parliament passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the state is yet to appoint an independent Commissioner for Disabilities, who is saddled with three other portfolios.

Commissioner for Disabilities Kumar Rahul is also the Secretary-cum-Director, Mining, and Secretary, Home Affairs, Justice and Jail. He was appointed in February. Before him, the post was vacant for several months.

Disability activists demand an independent Commissioner for Disabilities as they claim their grievances go unaddressed.

As per the 2011 Census, the state has 6.54 lakh persons with disabilities.

The state government is yet to notify policies to implement the 2016 Act.

Amarjit Singh Anand, a member of the Punjab State Advisory Board for Disabilities, said: “The Commissioner is pre-occupied with other portfolios at the cost of the disability sector. Until the policies for the disabled are notified, the Act can’t be implemented. The state needs an independent Commissioner for Disabilities for that.”

He cited a few unaddressed issues: non-disbursal of pension for disabled persons for more than six months and no meetings of the advisory board ever since the Congress came to power. “In the name of a meeting, the advisory board had organised an introductory session with disability activists,” Anand said.

Disability activist Vivek Joshi said, “I had sent repeated complaints to the Commissioner on harassment of disabled persons, but none was addressed. Every time we call, he is busy or in a meeting. I complained about disability students not allowed to appear for their exams and mistreatment meted out to me by Air India staff. This is not all. The 2011 Census data has not been revised.”

Minister for Social Security Aruna Chaudhary said, “Several officials have been sent to Chhattisgarh for the Assembly elections. Some of them will return on December 17, after which policy issues of the disability sector will be taken up. The state will get an independent Commissioner for Disability within a few months. This will be done before the code of conduct for the 2019 General Election is enforced. Anganwari workers will be deployed to collect data on persons with disabilities.”

Commissioner for Disabilities Kumar Rahul dismissed the view that the additional portfolios were affecting his work. “I have been regularly responding to grievances. As for students not allowed to take the exam, we did intervene, but we will look into the matter as to why the issue was not addressed. Other issues will be addressed once the policy is notified. The government is working on that.”

Irregularities lead to closure of 539 children homes.

 

The crackdown on Child Care Institutions (CCI) violating the
norms has resulted in 539 children homes being shut down across states.
Besides irregularities, the failure of the homes to register with the state as
per the Juvenile Justice Act 2015 is one of the major reasons for the
ministry of women and child closing these. Of the 539 homes 377 are in
Maharashtra followed by 78 in Andhra Pradesh and 32 in Telangana. In
Uttar Pradesh where the shocking cases from Deoria have been in the
news, 20 homes have been shut down. As many as 21 homes have been
closed in Karnataka.
The Supreme Court had set a deadline for December 31, 2017 for all
unregistered CCIs to register. In an attempt to ensure compliance in the
WCD ministry kept on giving the states repeated reminders to ensure compliance. However, after cases of abuse came to like
in a home in Muzzafarpur in Bihar and then in Deoria, the WCD ministry stepped up action to crackdown on non-compliant
unregistered homes. “The children who were living in those CCIs have been safely shifted to other child institutes,” a senior
official at the WC ministry said.
The WCD Ministry had asked the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to conduct a social audit of all the
CCIs and also directed the unregistered institutes to register themselves within two months. The minister had also said that the
district magistrates and district collectors should take the responsibility of monitoring adoption programmes which are implemented at the district level.
TOI had reported in August that over 1300 homes child care institutions, most of them in Kerala where the matter is in Court
were still out of the registration framework. To bolster the monitoring mechanism the government has also asked state
commissions to fill up vacancies in Child Welfare Committee and set up these critical committees that hold magesterial powers.
The parliament was informed in the monsoon session that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has
reported that it has registered 43 complaints regarding child abuse and neglect of children in CCIs during the last three years
upto June this year. Out of the 43 complaints, 38 have been closed and the remaining 5 cases are still pending.

Good Health Campaign Started Today

With the onset of winter, Heart Care becomes more important; since a large number of heart ailments get aggravated during cold weather.

The Centre for Social Work, Panjab University; Disha NGO and Kare Partners begin the season’s campaign for Heart Care, at Ashiana School Sector 46 Chandigarh under the leadership of Dr. Monica Singh, HOD of the Department and Ms. Simrit Josan, President of Disha NGO, along with a team of Senior Doctors from kare Partners.

Over 75 persons were screened during the camp with free tests and given free consultation. The team of MSW Students from Panjab University coordinated and managed the conduct of the camp.

Several more such camps are proposed by Disha NGO, during the coming Cold Season.

NGOs to appear before senior officers!

NGOs under the scanner were found to have allegedly violated several regulations, according to reliable sources.

Under the FCRA rules, an NGO, once its FCRA licence is cancelled, cannot use any unutilised foreign contribution in its custody without prior approval of the Centre.

 

Already facing heat after cancellation of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have now been told to appear before the Additional Chief Secretary or Principal Secretary (Home) of the state where it is located, after the Union Home Ministry designated both as “competent authorities” under section 15 of the Foreigners Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.

The move, officials said, is an outcome of cancellation of FCRA licences of more than 13,000 NGOs in the last three years. Earlier, a charity commissioner of a state used to look after assets and bank accounts of NGOs whose FCRA licence had been revoked.

“A charity commissioner was independent of the central government and was seen as a neutral body,” a senior official said.

Under the FCRA rules, an NGO, once its FCRA licence is cancelled, cannot use any unutilised foreign contribution in its custody without prior approval of the Centre. “Only up to 25 per cent of the unutilised amount may be spent, with prior approval of the Centre, for declared aims and objects for which the foreign contribution was received,” the official said.

In an order issued on November 5, Joint Secretary (Foreigners) Anil Malik stated: “…the Central government hereby prescribes the Additional Chief Secretary or Principal Secretary (Home) of the concerned state government or Union Territory (where the assets of the person whose registration has been cancelled under section 14 of the said Act are physically located), as competent authority for the purpose of section 15 of the said Act.”

Former additional solicitor general, Indira Jaising, whose NGO Lawyers Collective’s FCRA licence was revoked by Home Ministry in 2016, has described the move as “dangerous” and said there should be a judicial tribunal and an open court to deal with the matter.

“The Secretary (Home) does not perform judicial functions. The function of determining disputes is a judicial one, not political. The Secretary Home (of the state) is neither impartial nor a judicial tribunal. Hence, it is a wrong move intended to bring about a political outcome,” Jaising told The Indian Express. In January 2017, the Bombay high court ordered de-freezing of Jaising’s NGO domestic accounts after they were seized on the orders of MHA in 2016.

A Home Ministry official, however, said the decision to designate Additional Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary (home) as “competent authorities” under the FCRA, 2010, was taken due to non-availability of charity commissioners in states and UTs.

Harassed husbands hold protest!

Chandigarh: People facing false charges of dowry harassment,
maintenance, rape, domestic violence and work place harassment
gathered at Sector 17 plaza on Sunday evening and expressed their
experiences with the people.
The gathering was organised by a registered trust, Save Indian Family
who is working in Chandigarh from the past three years for equal rights
and justice for men on the International Men’s Day.
During the interactive session with the men gathered at the plaza, trust
members informed that there is a separate ministry for the welfare of
women, more than ten thousand NGO’s working for the welfare of women
but nothing for men. Everybody comes forward for women but no one comes forward for men.
Maninder Singh, a member of the trust, said, “We are here to educate and create awareness among the citizens and the
discrimination face by them in their day-to-day life.”
Various persons who were a part of the event were the victims of false cases and claimed that they and their male family
members had been falsely booked under false cases of dowry and domestic violence. One of the victims, said, “My son was
falsely booked under dowry case. We have been harassed unnecessarily. This is a well organised initiative by the NGO as they
suggest and help male victims in many ways.”
11/19/2018 Harassed husbands hold protest, say law misused ­ Times of India
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/harassed­husbands­hold­protest­say­law­misused/articleshowprint/66686952.cms 2/2
Besides this, trust members also informed that misuse of law by women against men also exists and harassment cases on
women is a highly misused law of the IPC. Even the senior judges and legal experts have ruled out misuse of law in many cases
against men by women.
Few men who did not want to be quoted told TOI that they had been put behind bars several times over false allegations.
Members also said, “Why not empower men?” Trust also provides counselling to save men from the misuse of law on their
national helpline number +91-8882498498.