The Patna High Court has dismissed a challenge against Bihar Rule stipulating 2 women members in the Child Welfare Committees.
The Juvenile Justice Act provides that the CWC shall consist of a Chairperson, and four other members as the State Government may think fit to appoint, of whom at least one shall be a woman and another, an expert on the matters concerning children.
The State Rules prescribed that the Committee shall consist of a Chairperson and four other members including at least two women from the district concerned for which the Committee has been constituted, and out of the five members including Chairperson, at least one member shall be from SC/ST and one from EBC/OBC communities.
This Rule was assailed on the ground that this results in 100% reservation, leaving no room for appointment of any person of general category, even though he has the requisite qualification as per the Act.
The court agreed with the justification of such a rule by the state which contended that such a stipulation is made because Women, by their gender, have a dispensation towards taking care of children and since the maximum numbers of child in need of care and protection are from the categories of SC/ST and EBC/OBC.
Upholding the Rule, the bench comprising Justice Jyoti Saran and Justice Ashutosh Kumar observed:
“Stipulating that two of the four members of the CWC shall be women does not tantamount to reservation. Women, by their very nature and dispensation are adept at rearing up children and, therefore, the impugned rule cannot be faulted with. The argument of proscription of 100% reservation, thus, fails miserably.”
Dismissing the plea, the bench also observed that CWC is not an appointment in the regular sense of the term as the appointment is not on any post under the public service. It said:
“Reservation in public service has the sanction of law as it is considered to be protective discrimination for the persons seeking employment, if they are socially and educationally backward and do not have adequate representation. The members of the CWC, on the contrary, are to look after the welfare of the children and not their welfare and, therefore, the necessity of their experience in the field of Child Welfare.”