Open In App

National Commission For Women

Last Updated : 09 Jun, 2022
Like Article

The Indian Constitution promotes gender equality. The Preamble, the Fundamental Rights, and Directive Principles of State Policy all endeavor towards the same goal. Article 15(3), Article 21, and Article 14 mentioned in the Indian Constitution have also promoted gender equality, but still, women faced a lot of issues related to their rights in our society and govt. realized those are not enough for improving their position. 

However, many judgments like Bodhisattwa Gautam versus Subhra Chakraborty and Vishakha versus the State of Rajasthan tried to improve the conditions of women but were unable to uplift the position of women in the society. As a result, it was recommended that there should be an apex body to improve the overall conditions of women. Finally, in January 1992, the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 (Act no. 20 of 1990 of the Government of India) set up the National Commission for Women in order to evaluate the legal and Constitutional provisions for women; endorse remedial legislative provisions; aid redressal of grievances and recommend the Government on all policy matters related to women. The commission took into account all the needs of the women including steps against their exploitation and protection of their rights thereby upgrading their position in society. The first Commission was chaired by Jayanti Patnaik.

Composition of the National Commission for Women

  1. A Chairperson to be appointed by the Union Government.
  2. Five members are to be appointed by the Union Government from among those persons who have experience in the field of administration, health, economic development, education, legislation, etc. Given that minimum of one member, each shall be from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes respectively.
  3. A member Secretary to be appointed by the Union Government who shall be:
    • A specialist in the areas of sociological movement, institutional structure, administration or
    • An officer who holds a civil post under the Union with relevant experience or who is a member of a Union Civil service or an All India service.

Each appointed member holds the office for a time period of 5 years or till he attains the age of 70 years. The Commission also has the power to set up committees with members from outside the Commission.

Role of National Commission for Women

The National Commission for Women has been constantly organizing programs to break gender stereotypes in society.

1. Complaints and Counselling: The complaints received can be in the form of oral, written, or Suo-Moto and are related to cruelty by husband, sexual harassment at workplace, gender discrimination, rape, domestic violence, dowry, etc. During 1999, the Commission received 4329 complaints regarding crimes against women. The following strategies are used in order to deal with the above-mentioned problems.

  • a) Investigations are taken up by the police personnel which is monitored.
  • b) Counselling is used to resolve or compromise family disputes.
  • c) In case of serious crimes, an inquiry committee is set up which makes inquiries, examines various witnesses, gathers evidence, and submit the report with recommendations.

2) Crime against women: The Commission in coordination with State Commissions is increasingly working towards dealing with crime against women.

3) Gender sensitization of police officials: In order to bring behavior and attitudinal changes, the Commission signed an MoU with the Bureau of Police Research and Development. It aims at bringing gender sensitization of police personnel.  

4) WhatsApp Helpline Number: Ms. Rekha Sharma was nominated as the chairperson of the National Commission for Women by the Central Government on August 7, 2018. The Commission under Ms. Rekha Sharma launched a WhatsApp helpline number to assist pregnant women with medical emergencies. The helpline gathered huge support from the doctor and the general public as well. It is due to her efforts that women’s issues are being addressed round the clock.

5) Economic empowerment of women: To make women independent and self-reliant, the National Commission for Women launched a management course to support the digital learning of women entrepreneurs. For the online training programme, the National Commission for Women has joined hands with the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and India SME forum.

6) Global Digital Literacy Programme: In order to provide digital literacy which aims to provide training to 1.50 lakh women across States including Gujarat, UP, Assam, Bihar, Kerala, etc., the third phase of “We Think Digital” was launched by National Commission for Women. In its 2nd phase, over 1,05,000 women have been sensitized.

7) Legal amendments: Till now the Commission has proposed around 16 amendments including the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, and the National Commission for Women Act, 1990.

8) Abusive NRI marriages: The Commission had conducted a National seminar with support from Punjab School of Law and National Women’s Centre, Punjabi University, Patiala to create awareness regarding the legal remedies which are available for Indian women trapped in abusive NRI marriages.

9) North-East cell: North East cell is constituted in the Commission to deal with the issues related to the North-Eastern women all over the country. The North-Eastern region includes the following states- Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura.

10) Legal intervention: Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalat (PMLA) is created by National Commission for Women for the speedy disposal of cases. PMLA has its roots in the traditional Nyaya Panchayats.

11) Intervention in court cases: The Commission has also intervened in numerous cases in order to protect the rights of women. The Bhateri gang rape Maimon Baskari Nuh  case, the Maimon Baskari Nuh case, Fakhruddin Mubarak Shaikh vs Jaitunbi Mubarak Shaikh case, the Imrana and Marine drive rape cases are a few examples of such intervention.

12) New bills proposed: Around 7 bills have been proposed by the Commission related to the trafficking of women and children. Examples of other bills proposed include The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Bill in 2005, The Marriage Bill, 1994, and the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 1996.

Some Drawbacks of the National Commission for Women

In spite of all the successes and efforts of the Commission, it still has a lot of drawbacks that act as a hindrance in the working of the Commission.  

  1. Jurisdiction: There is political unrest and violation of human rights in the region of Jammu and Kashmir. Therefore,  Commission’s presence is vital in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. But its jurisdiction is not operative there which is one of the major drawbacks of the Commission.
  2. Dependent on grants: The independence of the Commission is under compromise as it is dependent on the grants provided by the Union Government.
  3. Selection of the members: The members of the Commission are appointed by the Union Government and the Commission does not possess the powers to select its own members. This makes the Commission prone to politicization.
  4. Legislative powers: The powers to suggest amendments and submit reports are not binding on the Union Government or the State.


Despite its shortcomings, the National Commission for Women was able to fulfill most of its responsibilities which are mentioned in its mandate. With its different public hearing programs, legal amendments, complaint, counseling cell, investigations, reports, and women-centered schemes, it has achieved a lot in improving the status and condition of women in India. The increasing involvement of the National Commission for Women in women-related issues shows its active participation and enhanced role in this sphere.

Like Article
Suggest improvement
Share your thoughts in the comments

Similar Reads