New Delhi, Feb 13 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today told the Centre it wants to see the file relating to the selection process for vacancies in the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, which is functioning below its full capacity for the past two years.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar directed the Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Development to ensure that the file is produced before the court on the next date of hearing on February 19.

The court called for the information after observing that the ministry had given no reasons for not filling up the three vacancies, existing for more than two years, in the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

It also noted that no explanation has been given for “abandoning” an earlier selection process, carried out at the expense of the public exchequer, and initiating a fresh one.

The court observed that if the commission is functioning below its administrative capacity, “it would be detrimental to the welfare and well being of children”.

The observations and the order came after the ministry said the selection process was not yet complete.

The government in November last year had told the court that the vacancies would be filled up in four weeks, the bench noted.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation brought by advocate Radhakanta Tripathy, aimed at ensuring better administration in the panel for safeguarding the interests of children.

As per the statutory mandate under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act 2005, the panel should have six members and a chairperson. At present, the child rights panel has three members.

Stuti Narain Kacker is its chairperson a post which will fall vacant in September this year, the court was told by the petitioner.

Under the mandate, fresh appointments must be made within 90 days from the time of the occurrence of the vacancy, the PIL has said.

The petition has said that non-appointment of commission members frustrated the mechanism for dispensing justice and increases the pendency of cases pertaining to child rights.

The NCPCR, established in 2007, is responsible for implementation of child rights such as right to food, protection of children from sexual offences and free and compulsory education, among others.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.