Delhi Commission for Women Controversy Erupts as Contractual Staff Sacked

Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena terminates 223 contractual employees of the Delhi Commission for Women, citing irregularities in their hiring. The move sparks outrage from AAP leaders, who claim it will cripple the commission's functioning and harm women's safety.

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Delhi Commission for Women Controversy Erupts as Contractual Staff Sacked

Delhi Commission for Women Controversy Erupts as Contractual Staff Sacked

A major controversy has erupted between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena after the termination of 223 contractual employees of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW). The move, ordered by the Delhi government's Women and Child Development (WCD) department, has sparked outrage from AAP leaders who claim it will cripple the functioning of the commission.

Why this matters: The sacking of contractual staff at the Delhi Commission for Women has significant implications for the safety and well-being of women in Delhi, as it may hinder the commission's ability to provide essential services and support. This controversy also highlights the ongoing power struggle between the AAP government and the Lt Governor's office, which could have broader implications for governance in Delhi.

The sacking order, issued on April 29, cited irregularities in the hiring of the contractual staff, alleging that former DCW chief Swati Maliwal made the appointments during her tenure in violation of rules. A 2017 report submitted to the then Lt Governor found that the creation of 223 additional posts and engagement of staff were done without following due procedures or obtaining necessary approvals.

Maliwal, now an AAP Rajya Sabha MP, has vehemently opposed the termination order, calling it "negative politics" and "counterproductive" for the DCW. She stated, "There are 90 staff in DCW out of which only eight are permanent and the rest 82 are contractual workers employed for low wages at three months contracts." Maliwal highlighted the achievements of the commission during her nine-year tenure, including handling over 1,70,000 cases and providing counseling to more than 60,000 sexual assault survivors.

AAP ministers Atishi and Saurabh Bharadwaj have also launched scathing attacks on Lt Governor Saxena and the BJP, alleging that the party is the "biggest threat" to women. Bharadwaj accused the Lt Governor of aiming to stop all the good work of the Delhi government. The BJP, on the other hand, has blamed the AAP government and Maliwal for the contractual employees losing their jobs, citing unconstitutional and anarchic working.

The Delhi Commission for Women is a statutory body established to investigate and examine matters related to the safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws. The sacking of the contractual staff has raised concerns about the impact on the commission's programs and services, including the 181 women's helpline, rape crisis cell, and crisis intervention center. Many of the terminated employees are survivors of crimes, acid attacks, and domestic violence themselves.

The controversy over the sacking of the DCW's contractual staff has brought to the fore the ongoing power tussle between the AAP government and the Lt Governor's office in Delhi. With Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal currently in jail over alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped liquor policy, the latest face-off has only added to the political turmoil in the capital. As Maliwal put it, "If all the contractual staff are removed then where will the hundreds of women who come to seek help here go?"

Key Takeaways

  • Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena terminates 223 contractual employees of Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) citing irregularities.
  • AAP leaders, including Swati Maliwal, oppose the move, calling it "negative politics" and "counterproductive" for DCW.
  • The sacking may hinder DCW's ability to provide essential services and support to women in Delhi.
  • The controversy highlights the ongoing power struggle between the AAP government and the Lt Governor's office in Delhi.
  • The terminated employees include survivors of crimes, acid attacks, and domestic violence, raising concerns about their future.