Current General Studies Magazine: "Social Issue Based Article" September 2014

Current General Studies Magazine (September 2014)

Social Issue Based Article

Institutional Design of National Commission for Women

According to the NCW Act, the commission will consist of a chairperson and five members and a member secretary to be nominated by the central government. Using its power to regulate its procedures, the commission divides responsibilities and allocates work through the constitution of various expert committees and special desks. The commission does not have a field staff, and mainly depends on consultants and experts in various areas taken on temporary basis to work on a range of issues the commission is working on. These expert committees work on subjects of law and legislation, take up special studies on issues of concerning the socio-economic and political status of women in the country with a view to suggest policy recom­mendations to the government in the field of law and policy. Among other measures to probe into developmental problems, formulate recommendations and to understand issues and devise strategies, workshops, seminars/conferences are held. The members of the commission also make field visits to vari­ous states to take stock of the ongoing development activities concerning women and to monitor the conditions of women in various ways. The ncw is to be consulted by the government on all important policy issues concerning women. An impor­tant area of commission’s work is to attend to the individual complaints of women or to take suo motu notice of cases of vi­olence against women. A complaints unit looks into the com­plaints of women; a counselling cell was added to this unit in 1996. The commission also has a library and a research unit. All orders and decisions of the commission are to be authenti­cated by the member secretary or any other officer of the com­mission duly authorised by the member secretary.


Section 10(1) of the Act enumerates the investigative, monitoring, evaluative, advisory, and remedial functions of the commission. As an investigative agency, the ncw has the powers to investigate and examine all matters relating to safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws, and to look into specific problems and situations arising out of discriminations and atrocities against women. While investigating any matter it can exercise the powers of a civil court to summon and enforce attendance of any person, and ask for discovery or production of any document, public record and evidence on affidavits.

In its advisory role, the commission is to participate and ad­vise on the planning process on issues concerning women. It has the specific task of recommending amendments to meet any lacunae, inadequacies or shortcomings in the existing legislations.

As a monitoring and watchdog body, the commission is to look into and take suo motu notice of matters relating to non-implementation of laws and non-compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at ensuring welfare and provid­ing relief to women. It has the power to evaluate the progress of the development of women under the union or any state and also to inspect a jail, remand home, women’s institution or other place of custody where women are kept as prisoners or other­wise, and take up with the concerned authorities for remedial action. It is mandatory for the central government to consult the commission on all major policy matters affecting women. The commission is to prepare an annual report and submit it to the central government which, together with a memorandum of ac­tion taken report, would lay it before each house of Parliament. The New Act thus stipulates a wider area with regard to its func­tions and role, which gives the commission a lot of scope for interpreting its role as well as intervening at various levels.


  1. Brief about the functioning of NCW.

  2. What is power of NCW as an investigative agency, evaluate.

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