Manisha Gulati, the Chairperson of the Punjab State Commission for Women, has taken legal action against her removal from the commission’s top post. Gulati has approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the order of the Punjab government which removed her from her position.
Gulati, represented by Senior Advocate Chetan Mittal with Mayank Aggarwal, stated that she was initially appointed in March 2018 for a three-year term. Her tenure was then extended until March 2024 via an order dated September 18, 2020. However, her tenure was abruptly curtailed by the Punjab government through an order dated January 31, 2023, citing a lack of power to extend her term under the Punjab State Commission Act.
Gulati has challenged the order of the state in the high court, arguing that the curtailing of her extension was illegal. However, her petition was dismissed by the court after the state informed the high court that the order curtailing her tenure would be withdrawn. Unfortunately, on March 7, 2023, she was again removed from her position as commission chief in an allegedly illegal, arbitrary, and malicious manner.
The removal of Gulati from her position is a concerning development. It is imperative that women hold leadership positions in such institutions to ensure the protection of women’s rights and promote gender equality. Gulati’s removal from her position is not only unjust, but it also hinders the progress of women’s rights in Punjab.
Furthermore, it is disconcerting that the government has the power to arbitrarily remove women from leadership positions. This practice undermines the merit-based system and gives the impression that women in leadership roles are not valued. This creates a hostile environment that discourages women from seeking leadership positions.
Gulati’s removal from her position as the Chairperson of the Punjab State Commission for Women is a step backward for women’s rights in Punjab. It is critical that women’s voices are heard and that they are allowed to occupy leadership positions in institutions that focus on women’s rights.