• India
  • Jun 19
  • Kevin Savio Antony

Explainer - What is the role of National Commission for Women (NCW)?

As many as 12,600 complaints have been received by the National Commission for Women (NCW) so far this year, with Uttar Pradesh registering the highest number of complaints.

A total of 28,811 complaints were registered by the NCW in 2023.

Types of complaints:

• The highest number of complaints were received in the right to dignity category that involves harassment other than domestic violence. It stood at 3,107.

• This was followed by 3,544 complaints of domestic violence. 

• Dowry harassment complaints stood at 1,957, molestation complaints at 817, police apathy against women complaints at 518, and rape and attempt to rape complaints at 657.

• There were 493 complaints of sexual harassment, 339 of cybercrime, 345 of stalking and 206 of honour crimes.

National Commission for Women

The National Commission for Women (NCW) was constituted on January 31, 1992, as a statutory body in pursuance of the National Commission for Women Act, 1990, to safeguard and promote the rights and interests of women.

The Commission has the mandate to:

• Investigate and examine the legal safeguards provided to women under the Constitution and other laws, and recommend to the government whenever necessary, on the measures for effective implementation of laws. 

• Review existing provisions of the Constitution and other laws affecting women, and to recommend amendments to meet any lacunae, inadequacies or shortcomings in such laws. 

Constitution of NCW

• The Commission comprises a chairperson, five members and a member secretary.

• The members are nominated by the central government from amongst persons of ability, integrity and standing who have had experience in law or legislation, trade unionism, management of an industry potential of women, women’s voluntary organisations (including women activist), administration, economic development, health, education or social welfare. 

• At least one member each shall be from amongst persons belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively.

• The maximum tenure of the chairperson and the members of the Commission is three years. 

The Commission also:

• Looks into complaints/cases to redress them effectively.

• Takes suo-moto notice on matters relating to deprivation of women’s rights.

• Takes up issues with appropriate authorities.

• Conducts research studies on issues of relevance to women.

• Provides training in gender sensitisation and legal awareness training to young girls and women across India. 

• The Commission participates and advises in the planning process for socio-economic development of women and evaluates socio-economic progress, inspects jails, and remand homes where women are kept under custody and seek remedial action wherever necessary. 

• The Commission has the responsibility of addressing the concerns of women and help in designing, implementing and monitoring activities, implementation of laws, policies and programmes for empowerment of women.

The Commission is responsible for:

• Studying and monitoring all matters relating to constitutional and legal safeguards provided for women.

• Reviewing the existing legislations and suggesting amendments, wherever necessary.

• Looking into complaints and taking suo motu notice of cases involving deprivation of the rights of women in order to provide support, legal or otherwise to helpless women.

• Monitoring proper implementation of all legislations enacted to protect the rights of women to enable them to achieve equality in all spheres of life and equal participation in the development of the nation.

• Undertaking promotional and educational research and participating in and advising in the planning process of socio-economic development of women.

(The author is a trainer for Civil Services aspirants.)

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