‘Preferential treatment’ of child welfare council raises eyebrows

Its website says Governor is its patron

The Kerala Government’s ‘preferential treatment’ of the Kerala State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW), which is in the eye of a controversy related to the alleged illegal adoption of a baby of without the consent of its parents, has raised many eyebrows.

The KSCCW, a registered society under the Travancore-Cochin Literary Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act, has Governor as its patron. While Chief Minister is its president, Minister for Social Justice is its first vice president, according to its website.

Government officials, namely directors of Social Justice, Public Instruction and Health Services, are its executive committee members.

The organisation carrying the words Kerala State in its name, according to legal sources, goes against the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950 which bars the use of any name, emblem or official seal of the Central and State governments without the previous permission of the Central Government.

However, a former office-bearer of the society, said the State Government had issued an order permitting the society to carry the words Kerala State in its name a few decades ago.

The society, said one of its office-bearers who refused to be quoted, was functioning under the name and style since its inception and in accordance with its bylaw. Hence, no illegality, he claimed.

The State Government had allotted ₹1 crore for the society in the 2021-22 Budget. Two government officials, a Joint Secretary and an Under Secretary, are working with the society on deputation, he said.

Shiju Khan, KSCCW general secretary, who felt there was a concerted effort to torpedo the society, refused to comment on the issues.

R.K. Asha, lawyer and human rights activist, questioned what she termed undue privilege bestowed by the State Government on the society.

“The government should clarify the preferential treatment of the society, including fund allocation, which defeats the functioning of the Child Welfare Committee, established by law. The name of the organisation, its patron, president, and other executive committee members give the impression that its a government entity,” Ms. Asha said.

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