Lapses in Karnataka Women Commission

BANGALORE, August 1, 2008: Members of both Ruling and Opposition parties in the Legislative Council on Friday have urged the State Government to order a probe into missing of 890 complaints submitted to the Karnataka State Women’s Commission in 2007 from aggrieved women from different parts of the State.

BJP member Vimala Gowda raised the issue on mysterious missing of petitions from the office of the Women Commission and said the commission, which was set up in 1995, failed to protect the interest and dignity of women.

Instead of safeguarding the women from various form of exploitation and addressing their grievances, the commission officials have been seeking favors for disposal of cases. Corruption was rampant in the functioning of the commission, she alleged and demanded total revamping of its functioning.

The Women and Child Welfare Development Department had sent a notice to Pramila Nesargi, who was the chairperson of the commission between February and October 2007, asking her to provide explanation for the missing copies of complaints. Ms. Nesargi stepped down from the office during the President’s rule in the State. Ms Nesargi contested the 2008 Assembly elections on a BJP ticket from Vijayanagar constituency in Bangalore but was defeated by Congress candidate M Krishnappa.

Ms. Gowda told the ruling BJP Government to wind up the commission since it was not doing work what it was supposed to do. The officials of the Department failed to trace the complaints for the last few months and the probe should be ordered into the matter, she said.

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In a reply Minister for Women and Child Development P.M. Narendra Swamy said all steps would be taken to book the officials responsible for missing the files. Minister for Medical Education Ramachandra Gowda said there was dereliction of duty on the part of the officials. "The officials who were responsible for missing of files would not be spared," he said.

V.S. Ugrappa, Motamma, Pratapchandra Shetty (Congress), Basavaraj Horatti, Abdul Azim, V.S. Datta (JD-S) and Mohan Limbikai (BJP) and several other members spoke on the issue and condemned the lapse on the part of the government. A report on missing documents was compiled after the Karnataka Information Commission asked for details, he said.

Mr Limbikai said the Commission Chairperson conducted a breach of trust by not properly restoring the files in the office. A Departmental inquiry would only unravel the truth.

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