The National Commission for Women (NCW) is a statutory body of the Government of India, generally related with advising the government on all policy issues affecting women. It was set up in January 1992 under the provisions of the Indian Constitution, as defined in the 1990 National Commission for Women Act. The pioneer head of the commission was Jayanti Patnaik. As of 8th August 2018, Rekha Sharma is the chairperson.
The focus of the NCW is to represent the rights of women in India and to give a voice for their issues and concerns. The subjects of their campaigns have included dowry, politics, religion, equal representation for women in jobs, and the exploitation of women for labor. They have also concerned about police abuses against women.
The commission regularly launches a monthly newsletter, Rashtra Mahila, in both Hindi and English.
Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code
In December 2006 and January 2007, the NCW found itself at the center of a minor controversy over its insistence that Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code is not altered to make adulterous wives equally prosecutable by their husbands.
But the grounds on which Ms. Vyas resists the point of making this a criminal offense — particularly for women, as often recommended — are not as encouraging. She is averse to holding the adulterous woman equally culpable as the adulterous man because women, she believes, are never offenders. They are every time the victims.
The NCW has asked that women should not be punished for adultery, as a woman is “the victim and not an offender” in such cases. They have also advocated the amendment of Section 198 of the CrPC to permit women to file complaints against unfaithful husbands and prosecute them for their promiscuous behavior. This was in response to “loopholes” in the Indian Penal Code that permitted men to file adultery charges against other men who have engaged in illicit relations but did not allow women to file charges against their husbands.
The Commission has also carried to guarantee women security in unconventional relationships. Mangalore pub attack controversy. The NCW came under sharp criticism for their actions to the attack by forty male members of the Hindu right-wing Sri Ram Sena on eight women in a bar in Mangalore in late January 2009. Clip from the attack shows the women were punched, pulled by their hair, and thrown out of the pub.
NCW representatives Smt Nirmala Venkatesh was sent to assess the situation and said in an interview that the pub did not have proper security and that the women should have protected themselves. Venkatesh said, “If the girls feel they were not doing anything wrong why are they afraid to come forward and give a statement?” On 6 February, the NCW said they confirmed not to accept Venkatesh’s report but would not be sending a new team to Mangalore. On 27 February, the Prime Minister’s Office approved the removal of Nirmala Venkatesh on disciplinary grounds.