CHANDIGARH, January 16, 2013:- The Haryana Government today intimated the Punjab and Haryana High Court that they have constituted the “Haryana State Commission for Protection of Child Right,” in compliance to the orders of the High Court in the public interest litigation (PIL) moved by social activist Hemant Goswami. The Punjab Government had already constituted the Punjab Child Rights Commission in compliance to the HC orders. Both Government of Punjab and Haryana intimated the court, by filling affidavits, that they have appointed Chairman and two members in the commission.
The first DB of Chief Justice A.K. Sekri and Justice R.K. Jain of Punjab and Haryana Court directed that in total six members and a chairman are to appointed and so four more members must be appointed by both Punjab and Haryana to make the commission functional.
The court also took note of the assertion made by the Union that the Government is unable to release the approval of funds to the Chandigarh Administration as the Finance ministry has in-principle blocked creation of any new posts. The High Court observed, “For compliance to the statutory obligation of an important legislation the Union can not take such an excuse.” The High Court asked Chandigarh Administration and the Union Government to file their stands in writing before the next date of hearing.
Questions were also raised by the petitioner Hemant Goswami about the credentials of the Chairman of the “Punjab State Child Rights Commission.” Goswami pointed out that no member of the child rights commission can be engaged in any other vocation or employment whereas Swaran Singh Salaria, the Chairman of the “Punjab State Child Rights Commission” was engaged in full time business at Punjab, Jammu and Mumbai. It was also alleged by the petitioner that the person named as Chairman of the commission is also reported to be named in a FIR (No 12 of 2011 dated 06/07/2011) at Jammu for being engaged in some unlawful activities. Goswami questioned, “If a member attracts the disqualification of Section 7 of the Act on day-one of his appointment then how can such commissions ever function.” Chief Justice asked the Punjab Government counsel to clarify about this on the next date of hearing.
The States also filed their reply to the suggestions given by Hemant Goswami and Advocate Anil Malhotra for initiation of a permanent solution to the child-abuse problems. Earlier the petitioner had suggested that rehabilitation and reintegration of the exploited child in the society required special attention of the Government. It was suggested that after the discovery of violation, the victim child should be moved away from the exploitative environment and should be provided with free education under RTE, food, shelter, care and other basic needs, etc. at State expenses. It was also suggested that High Court may constitute a high powered committee to see through the implementation of various legislation during its initial phase so that continuous monitoring of the enforcement and implementation of the legislation be possible.
During the course of hearing, in lighter vein, pointing to the petitioner Hemant Goswami, who was arguing the case in-person, the Chief Justice remarked that if a person wihout a law degree can conduct a case in such a wonderful manner, then the assertion that only person with legal backgound should be considered for such quasi-judicial bodies holds little weight.
The case has now been listed for January 23, 2013 for final disposal.