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Day 50 – Q 4.What is the mandate of the National Commission for Women? What role has it played in the protection and betterment of women in India? Critically evaluate.

4. What is the mandate of the National Commission for Women? What role has it played in the protection and betterment of women in India? Critically evaluate. 

राष्ट्रीय महिला आयोग का क्या अधिदेश है? भारत में महिलाओं की सुरक्षा और बेहतरी में इसकी क्या भूमिका है? समीक्षा करें।


The National Commission for Women(NCW) was setup with the vision to make Indian Woman, secure in her home and outside, fully empowered to access all her rights and entitlements, with opportunity to contribute equally in all walks of life. Constituted in 1992 under the NCW Act, the women’s panel comprises five members and a chairperson, appointed by the government. The NCW chief has to be a person committed to the cause of women.


The National Commission for Women was set up as a statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 to:

  • review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women;
  • recommend remedial legislative measures;
  • facilitate redressal of grievances and
  • advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.

NCW has a wide ranging mandate which includes the following: 

  • Investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for women under the Constitution and other laws;
  • present to the Central Government, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
  • make in such reports recommendations for the effective implementation of those safeguards for improving the conditions of women by the Union or any state;
  • review, from time to time, the existing provisions of the Constitution and other laws affecting women and recommend amendments thereto so as to suggest remedial legislative measures to meet any lacunae, inadequacies or shortcomings in such legislations;
  • take up cases of violation of the provisions of the Constitution and of other laws relating to women with the appropriate authorities;
  • look into complaints and take suo moto notice of matters relating to women in India and violation of their rights.

The Commission shall, while investigating any matter referred to it, have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit and, in particular in respect of the following matters, namely :-

  • summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person from any part of India and examining him on oath;
  • requiring the discovery and production of any document;
  • receiving evidence on affidavits;
  • requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office;
  • issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses and documents; and
  • any other matter which may be prescribed.

In keeping with its mandate, the Commission initiated various steps to improve the status of women and worked for their economic empowerment during the year under report.  

  • The Commission completes its visits to all the States / UTs except Lakshadweep and prepares Gender Profiles to assess the status of women and their empowerment. 
  • It receives a large number of complaints and acts suo-moto  in several cases to provide speedy justice.  
  • It tkes up the issue of child marriage, sponsored legal awareness programmes,  Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats and reviews laws such as Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, PNDT Act 1994, Indian Penal Code 1860 and the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 to make them more stringent and effective. 
  • It organizes workshops / consultations, constituted expert committees on economic empowerment of women, conducted workshops / seminars for gender awareness and took up publicity campaign against female foeticide, violence against women etc. in order to generate awareness in the society against these social evils.
  • It also strive towards enabling women to achieve equality and equal participation in all spheres of life by securing her due rights and entitlements through suitable policy formulation, legislative measures, effective enforcement of laws, implementation of schemes/policies and devising strategies for solution of specific problems/situations arising out of discrimination and atrocities against women.

In spite of positive aspects of women commission and great achievements, there are also some shortcomings:

  • Although the NCW is an autonomous body, it is functioning as if it is under the ministry of women and child development.
  • The commission is dependent on the grant from the Union Government.
  • The commission does not have the power to select own members. The power is vested with the Union Government.
  • The commission has no right to concrete legislative power. It has only to power recommend amendments and submit reports which are not binding on state or Union Government.
  • Financial assistance is so less that it is difficult make awareness of legal program.
  • The National Commission for women in India seizes women’s cause only when it is brought to light. Unreported cases of oppression and suppression of women are not attended to.
  • In rural sector, there is lack of mindfulness education, opportunities and basic facilities for women for economic of empowerment.

Maneka Gandhi had mooted more teeth to the NCW by giving it the status of a civil court with rights — like that of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).


The Violence against Women is a fundamental violation of human rights, across nations, societies, cultures and classes and to stop this violation of the fundamental right, the NCW plays an important role which can be furthered enhanced with appropriate remedial measures.

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