The Maharashtra State Commission for Women is a statutory body, constituted under the Maharashtran Act No. XV of 1993, with Susieben Shah as the current Chairperson of the Commission. The main objectives of the Commission are:
- To improve the status and dignity of women in the society.
- To investigate into practices derogatory to women and suggest suitable remedial measures to them.
- To effectively monitor implementation of laws affecting women.
- To advise the Government on all matters related to the improvement and upliftment of the status and dignity of women in society.
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The elimination of violence against women is the main focus area identified by the Commission. As soon as any incident related to the exploitation, molestation, or aggression against women comes to the notice of the Commission, immediate steps are taken to intervene with the respective authorities, in order to ensure that a proper investigation is conducted and the offenders prosecuted. A number of cases pertaining to matrimonial issues, property matters, dowry harassment and deaths, rape, etc. are recorded at the Commission’s office.
In order to handle the abovementioned cases in regards to atrocities against women, the Commission offers counselling services to women who require it, prior to the commencement of any legal proceedings. The commission began a Counselling and free Legal Advice Centre in its premises in Mumbai on the 18th of March, 1995, and had asked all Zila Parishads (district councils), Municipal Corporations, and local bodies to open Counselling Cells through the Commission’s approved NGOs with funds from their Women and Child Development Department. The Commission also holds Legal Literacy Workshops for Women through NGOs, as well as directly.
The Commission is vigilant about specific issues, such as the implementation of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act of 1994, and gender insensitivity in the portrayal of women in the media. Various research studies, workshops, and networks with various NGOs, are also conducted by the Commission on issues affecting women. Moreover, the Commission issues a quarterly newsletter – ‘Thingi – a Spark’ – in both Marathi and English, in order to enable greater level of rapport between the Commission and non-governmental organisations.
To know more about the commission and its work, visit http://mscw.maharashtra.gov.in