National Commission for Women(NCW) fined by Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court has pulled up the National Commission for Women (NCW) for adopting “procedures not sanctioned in law” and exceeding its jurisdiction, while dealing with a matrimonial dispute, resulting in the man losing his job.

It also imposed a fine of Rs 30,000 on NCW. NCW, on the basis of the woman’s complaint against her husband, had written to the High Commission of Singapore directing it to advise the man’s employer not to post him outside India, which Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw found to be “illegal and beyond its jurisdiction“.

The man was working in Singapore as a marine engineer with a Japanese maritime transport company and as a result of the advisory lost his job, prompting him to move the high court seeking withdrawal of the advisory and compensation of Rs 75,49,958 jointly and severally from NCW and his wife.

The court declined to award compensation to the man as it was a matrimonial dispute. However, since NCW, “acted beyond its jurisdiction”, the court deemed it appropriate “to award costs of this petition of Rs 30,000 to the petitioner payable by the NCW within four weeks of today (March 31)”.

The court also observed that role of NCW was to act as a co-ordinating agency “to ensure that the women in distress are guided to appropriate agencies/authorities empowered and constituted to take action on their complaints, and such agencies act on the complaint and that the orders/directions issued by such agencies/authorities are in turn implemented by other agencies/authorities empowered/constituted/required to implement the same”.

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“However, NCW appears to have abrogated to itself the task of the judge as well as of executing its own decisions and which it is not entitled to… NCW chose to adopt a procedure not sanctioned in law. “The apprehensions of respondent No.2 (wife) on which NCW acted thus, had no basis and appear to be guided by desire to cause harm to the petitioner and in which NCW appears to have played along,” the court observed while disposing of the man’s plea.

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