The Delhi State Commission for Women has been set up under an Act of the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, passed in 1994. The Delhi Act is based on the lines of the 1990 Act of Parliament under which the National Commission for Women was constituted. The geographical area of operation assigned to the State Commission is the National Capital Territory of Delhi which has a population of over 10 million.

The main objectives of the Commission are to ensure security, development and well-being of women in every sphere of national life - particularly to suggest and ensure implementation of steps against gender discrimination. The Commission is also to ensure that adequate provisions for women's advancement are included in all State policies, plans and programmes. The Commission is expected to review State laws and suggest new legislation and amendments to existing laws to meet the objectives of gender equity and advancement of women.

To begin with, the Commission consisted of only two Members, a Chairperson Smt. Kamla Mankekar and one Member Smt. Mridula Sinha. As per the Act, the Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare was named as Member-Secretary of the Commission. However, this provision was changed and Director, Department of Social Welfare was entrusted with the work of Member-Secretary (as additional charge).

In the first year of its existence, the Commission began with identifying its priorities for action, networking with NGOs, co-ordinating work with police to check violence against women, and planned studies on which further plans and action could be based.

The Commission set up a sub-committee, Sahyogini, to deal with complaints of social injustice and violence against women.

Programmes and Projects undertaken by Delhi Commission for Women

Among the first steps of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) on assuming office was to convene meetings with the press and with non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) specially those which are engaged in work for the advancement of women at national and State levels. To begin with, four areas were prioritised for action. These were : 

Security : DCW believed that security of women in the Capital must be ensured and this meant both physical security, domestic harmony and legal protection. For this, the Chairperson pointed out, the basic requirements were:

  1. full co-operation and assistance from the police.

  2. net-working with NGOs and the community neighbourhood groups.

  3. legal assistance from the Commission through a consultant well-versed with the problems of women in Delhi and through legal aid centres.

Education and Literacy : The Capital of India, the Commission felt, should be completely rid of illiteracy among women. Compulsory primary education both for boys and girls should not only be a matter of policy but steps should be taken for its effective implementation. This goal was considered achievable as literacy rate in the Capital was already well above the national average.

Employment and economic empowerment of women : Considering that the share of educated and trained women in  the job market was minimal, the Commission planned to discuss and suggest measures to improve the situation.

Laws and Legislative provisions : Expressing its general satisfaction over fairly adequate provisions in law for protection and advancement of women, the Commission planned to seek their effective implementation, which so far had left much to be desired. For this it intended to enlist help of the law enforcing agencies, specially the police force.

Other urgent measures suggested by DCW were:

  1. Immediate steps to be taken to set up Family Courts.

  2. Legal literacy be made compulsory for girls at high school and college level and spread through Mahila Mandals in rural areas.

  3. The curriculum and functioning of ITIs be reviewed and revised to devise courses which would have employment potential. The present curriculum often had no relevance to employment market demands.

  4. All police cells dealing with crime against women be linked effectively with the central cell. This would facilitate regular survey-and-analysis of the crime situation.