JAMMU : The purported controversial list of aspirants for Chairpersons and members of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) besides members of Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) for all districts of J&K has finally been issued by Commissioner Secretary, Social Welfare Department, J&K, Sheetal Nanda vide S.O No 205 dated 13/04/2023
The available order is facsimile of the list which was already circulating in social media. Our worst fears about mass irregularities and favoritism in selection process have come true as most of the ineligible and inexperienced candidates have been selected who managed experience certificates through fraudulent means. The list warrants a through time bound CBI/CID probe to unearth this recruitment scam in SWD, says social activist Prof SK Bhalla
There is one each CWC and JJB in every district which comprise of a Chairperson along with four members in former case and two members in later case. Serving judicial officer is Chairperson of JJB. As per JJA 2015, the CWC and JJB are required to be reconstituted after every three years strictly as per the criteria laid down for selection of Chairperson and members through a selection committee constituted by the government.
However, the selection process which was set into motion on August 1, 2022 mired into controversy over purported list of panelists widely circulated in public domain and dubbed as document of alleged irregularities and favoritism by several aggrieved candidates.
Flaunting list of panels shortlisted for selection as Chairpersons and members of CWCs besides members of JJBs for 20 districts, candidates appeared in the competition alleged “Higher qualification, experience and merit is a casualty in this list which mostly comprised favorites as well as workers of political parties”.
A glance of panels doing the rounds in social media indicate that CWC is now turned into rehabilitation centre for ineligible candidates, added insiders in SWD.
The selection committee comprised of Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, former Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court, as Chairman, Director Mission Vatsalya, Harvinder Kour as Member-Secretary whereas the four members included Dr Sindhu Kapoor, Dean and Associate Professor Faculty of Social Sciences (Cluster University, Jammu), Dr Nancy Mengi, HoD Department of Social Work (Central University Jammu), Rajeev Khajuria, President of NGO- National Development Foundation (NDF).
There are also accusations against the Director Mission Vatsalya, who also happened to be member secretary in selection committee for fiddling with criteria laid down in JJA 2015 for selection of Chairpersons and members of CWC and JJB.
“The Act which is passed by the parliament states that for Chairperson as well members -CWC/JJB, the candidate should be Post Graduate in sociology, Law, child psychology or psychiatry, social work or Human Development or a retired judicial officer with minimum experience of 7 years in the concerned field.”
Right from the advertisements of posts vide order No 2 SC (MV) of 2022 dated 1/8/2022, the intentions of the Directorate of Mission Vatsalya were suspect as it changed the criteria of basic qualification from Degree to graduation which was specially designed to accommodate favorites.
Later, succumbing to hue and cry raised by the candidates, the authorities vide corrigendum No SC/JJ/MV/2022-23/11-12 dated 2/08/2022, reverse the qualification criteria in accordance with JJA.
Strangely, at the time of final selection, the selection committee again reverted to the criteria notified in the initial advertisement to facilitate cake walk for every Tom, Dick and Harry into selection process sans desired experience and qualification in the relevant field, avers aggrieved candidates adding, “Caring and counselling of distressed children require candidates with missionary zeal having desired qualification and experience in the concerned subject”.
Apart from considering simple graduate having no expertise in desired subjects, the authorities also shortlisted several candidates who had no experience certificates at the time of scrutiny of documents.
“While highly qualified candidates with vast experience in child rights were ignored, the selection committee considered several aspirants in contravention of experience criteria as mentioned in the advertisement which speaks about volume of irregularities in the selection process”, alleged one aggrieved candidate.
Further sharing details, the aggrieved candidates complain that one Nischint Pachanda associated with NGO namely NDF which is run by one member of selection committee namely Rajeev Khajuria was awarded highest 81 marks to ensure his selection as member JJB, Jammu district while many qualified with PhD in concerned field and vast experience like Dr Chaista, were ignored.
Similarly, one Yudhveer Singh who was rejected openly in the interview for lack of required experience as well as qualification also figured in the select list as JJB member.
For reasons best known to the authorities, Rajeev Khajuria, who is considered as an influential person in NGO field, is repeatedly given undue favor as member in selection committee when as a matter of fact there are plenty of persons with impeccable integrity and doing yeoman work in J&K in the field of child welfare, said reliable sources.
Efforts to contact Sheetal Nanda, Commissioner Secretary, SWD as well as Harvinder Kour, Mission Director, Vatsalya did not materialize.