No salary for Jharkhand women’s commission chief

April 7th, 2008 - 12:17 pm ICT by admin  

Ranchi, April 7 (IANS) As chairperson of the Jharkhand Women’s Commission (JWC), Laxmi Singh ensured justice for over 200 women. Yet, she is herself fighting a legal battle to get her salary. The Arjun Munda government had appointed Laxmi Singh, who is a retired chief secretary of the Jharkhand government, as chairperson of JWC in September 2006.

The chairperson and two members of the commission - Meera Jaiswal and Louis Marandi - are without salary for the last 18 months. Singh has approached the Jharkhand High Court to get her salary.

Asked why she was not getting her salary, Singh said: “When the women’s commission was constituted the service condition was not formulated. In the absence of a service condition, the chairperson and members are not getting salary since its inception.

“As chairperson, I wrote scores of letters to Chief Minister Madhu Koda, Social Welfare Minister Jobha Manjhi and chief secretary. None of them took up the matter.

“I have disposed off more than 220 cases and ensured justice to more than 200 women. I tell women to fight for their right and now I am fighting for my right.

“We do not have manpower to run the commission. We do not have assistants, personal secretary, peon, driver, vehicle and other things. You can imagine the plight of the commission.”

As per norms, the women’s commission should have one senior Personal Assistant (PA), one personal assistant to chairperson and member of the commission, six assistants to assist the commission to discharge their duties, one accountant, three peons and three drivers and vehicles for chairperson and members of the commission. The secretary was appointed in October 2007.

The present Madhu Koda government dissolved the commission in February 2007. Laxmi Singh and the two other members approached the Jharkhand High Court and challenged the decision.

The high court ruled in favour of Singh and the two other members. They were reinstated at the court’s directive April 4, 2007.

Deputy Chief Minister Stephen Marandi, who is also in charge of the finance department, said: “I have no idea regarding payment to the chairperson of women’s commission. Let me find out the fact. We will certainly do the needful to ensure salary to the chairperson and members of the commission.”

According to sources, politics is main reason for withholding formulation of the commission’s service condition.

Arjun Munda constituted the women’s commission when his government was in a minority.

Four independent legislators including Chief Minister Madhu Koda withdrew support from the Munda government in the first week of September 2006.

Just a few days before stepping down from the chief minister’s post, Munda constituted the women’s commission.

Meera Jaiswal, a member, was an active member of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

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