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Ministry fined Rs 25,000 for 18-month vacant national child commission chair

The Supreme Court on Friday imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the woman and child development ministry for its failure to appoint the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights’ chief - a position lying vacant for last one and half year - despite its three specific orders.

Brushing aside the submission that the file for the appointment was lying in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), a social justice bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice UU Lalit imposed the cost of Rs 25,000 saying the ministry had already taken three adjournments since 2014.

Imposing the fine, the court said that the failure to appointment of chairman NCPCR was an “unexplained delay”.

“Don’t tell us PMO We are not concerned. We will impose the cost,” Justice Lokur said rejecting a plea by additional solicitor general Maninder Singh seeking another four weeks time.

“We don’t know. We are not concerned. It can’t take one and a half year to appoint NCPCR chairman. You speak to PMO,” the court said as Singh again tried to impress upon the court about the intricacies involved in the appointment process and the file lying pending with PMO

Asking the ASG to go through its three orders starting from February, the court said: “If you don’t accept an appointment, then reject it” but take a decision as Singh said that thousands of vacancies were lying vacant and don’t get filled.

The court also took exception to an affidavit filed by Uttar Pradesh government which said that it need not appoint a state advisory committee as the high court was seized of the matter and dealing with it.

Describing it too much, the court, while admonishing the state government, said: “This is just too much. You are not going to do anything as high court is doing it.”

Agreeing with the court, counsel for Uttar Pradesh regretted the sentence written in the affidavit and offered to amend it.

The court said that for this limited purpose, it would take up the matter next Friday.

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