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'Political figures, not retired judges should chair NCW'

Posted on Aug 01 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Aug 1 : National Commission for Women (NCW) chief Mamta Sharma, who demitted the office Friday, said the position of the chairperson should be given to a political figure not to retired judges as proposed by the central government.

"I do not agree with the government's recommendation that the chair of NCW should be given to a person with legal background. The position should be chaired by someone who has extensively worked on women's issue at the grassroot level so that even a political person can become the NCW chief," Mamta Sharma said at a press conference here.

The ministry of women and child development has proposed that only a retired judge of the Supreme Court or a retired chief justice of the high court can be appointed as the chairperson of the NCW. At present, a person committed to the women's cause has been nominated as the chairperson.

Sharma, however, agreed that there should be two commission members with legal background as it would help the panel to work properly.

After serving for three years, Sharma's tenure ended Friday but she felt that the commission's chief should be given a five-year term in the office.

"The government should extend the tenure of the chairperson from three to five years so that there could be outcomes to the initiatives that were taken," she said.

Describing the Delhi December 2012 gang rape case as the most challenging in her tenure, Sharma said the commission should be given more funds.

"More funds to the commission will help it organise more programmes," she said.

Sharma said she strongly agrees with Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi's view that the juvenile law should be amended.

"The juvenile age should be decreased to 16 years. This change will help reducing the number of crimes against women. As it is a debatable issue, the government should hold debate and discussion with the psychological and legal experts," she said.

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