Swati Maliwal is an Indian social activist and a politician. She is well-known for taking up issues pertaining to women’s empowerment. She is the Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW).
Swati Maliwal was born on Monday, 15 October 1984 (age 38 years; as of 2022) in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India. Swati completed her schooling at Amity International School, Noida. In the 12th standard, she secured 92%. After completing her schooling in 2002, Swati Maliwal pursued her graduation at the JSS Academy of Technical Education, UPTU. In 2006, she completed her BTech and secured 66% marks.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Parents & Siblings
Swati Mailwal’s father, Ashok Maliwal (deceased), served in the Indian Army as an officer. Her mother, Sangita Maliwal, is a Chemistry teacher.
Her sister’s name is Ayesha Maliwal Bundy.
Swati Maliwal was married to Naveen Jaihind, leader of the Aam Aadmi Party in Haryana. The couple got divorced in 2020.
Swati Maliwal follows Hinduism.
After completing her graduation in 2006, Swati Maliwal decided to work with a man, who was providing free-of-cost education to the poor children living in the slums of Delhi. During an interview, Swati said,
After completing my engineering, I had a three-month break before my first job. I had an ample amount of time, so one day when I saw a man teaching slum children, I decided to join him. I thought I would do that for some time and then leave it. But, as soon as I started to teach those 30 kids, I got exposed to the disparity and inequality that these children were facing there. I felt guilty for not doing anything for these innocent children, and soon I decided not to take my job and scale up my contribution towards the betterment of the society.”
Swati then decided to join Parivartan, an NGO founded by Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia. By 2012, the NGO had become defunct after its founders launched the Aam Aadmi Party.
From 2006 to 2009, she worked with Public Cause Research Foundation (PCRF). The foundation aimed at working on issues related to women’s rights and empowerment. While working with the PCRF, Swati Maliwal, from 2008 to 2012, looked after the administrative and financial tasks of the organisation. As an employee of the PCRF, she once visited several backward villages of Maharashtra and prepared a detailed report of 55,000 pages. The report was based on the condition of women living in those areas. In 2007, to bring desirable reforms in the financial structure of India, Swati presented her suggestions to the Thirteenth Financial Commission. In 2008, during the flash floods in the Kosi district of Bihar, Swati Maliwal visited the flood-affected areas, to provide aid and assistance to the locals, stuck in the floods. In 2009, Swati Maliwal was appointed as the Head of the Right To Information (RTI) Awards, where she looked after organising, planning, and strategising the awards. Later in 2019, she co-authored a report titled “State of Information Commissions in India – A performance evaluation.” In 2011, Swati Maliwal participated in Anna Hazare’s campaign, India Against Corruption, and she was made the head of the campaign’s mobilisation team. In the same year, Swati Maliwal, along with Kiran Bedi (ex-IPS officer), Prashant Bhushan (Supreme Court lawyer), and Justice N. Santosh Hegde (former Lokayukta of Karnataka), was made a core member of Anna’s team. Swati, in 2011, was also made a coordinator of Anna Hazare’s campaign in Delhi. As a coordinator, she looked after the training of the volunteers and also maintained a regular engagement with them.
Swati Maliwal joined the Aam Aadmi Party in 2012. In 2014, she aided the drafting of the Delhi Nagar Swaraj Bill, a bill, which was based on the Model Nagar Raj Bill passed by the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India in 2008. For better drafting and implementation of public policies, Swati once came up with the idea of establishing Mohalla Sabhas. Initially, it was decided that regular Mohalla Sabhas would be conducted in four municipalities of Delhi. After the success of Mohalla Sabhas in four Municipalities, the concept was then implemented all over Delhi. The Bihar Government once sought Swati’s assistance in amending the state’s Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). Swati Maliwal, once, assisted in the formulation of an alternate framework, which could have been used in place of the 1984 Land Acquisition Act. The framework was aimed at helping the people who were displaced because of the Yamuna Expressway project. In 2013, after the Aam Aadmi Party was elected to power in Delhi, Swati Maliwal was appointed as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s advisor on Public Grievances.
Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women
In July 2015, Swati Maliwal was appointed as the Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) by the Delhi Government.
Swati Maliwal as a Chairperson of the DCW has met several foreign diplomats and representatives. In 2017, she met and briefed the women ambassadors from different countries like Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Burundi, Congo, Philippines, Seychelles, and Fiji about the aims and goals of DCW.
In 2019, Swati Maliwal met the representatives of the Professional Fellow Programme and gave them a presentation on the steps taken by the DCW for ensuring women’s safety in the NCR.
Later in the same year, Swati headed a Satyagrah Movement, demanding a stricter law for the molesters of women to make the women feel safer in public. She protested against the central government right outside the then Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence. In an interview, she talked about this and said,
Our Satyagraha movement was a day and night movement. When for the first time the women commision was out on the road to work for the safety of our women. We worked day and night, and it was only to understand the problem that the women were facing on the roads, trains, metros. It was also to force the government to take stringent actions to curb crime against women.”
In 2017, Swati Maliwal was invited to attend the US Government-sponsored Women Safety Conclave.
In 2018, after the Unnao rape incident, Swati Maliwal went on an indefinite hunger strike, demanding stricter laws for the rape accused, she also demanded a death penalty for the convicted rapists of minors within six months of committing the crime. Her hunger strike was joined by the former BJP member Shatrughan Sinha. Nirbhaya’s parents also joined Swati, supporting her demand. Swati talked about this and said,
For the last three years, I have been begging the government to make stringent laws against crime against women. I have written hundreds of letters to Prime Minister Modi demanding some action from his government for the safety of women, but he never cared even to acknowledge any of that. So, I thought even if it takes an Anshan (Hunger strike) to wake the government, I will do that.”
In 2018, Swati Maliwal broke her fast after the Government of India’s promise of adhering to her demands. However, she resumed her strike when the government failed to hold its promise. Swati, in an interview, stated,
When I broke my fast, the government had promised us that they would comply completely with all of our six demands including Delhi police force to have more personnel in the next three months, as there is a shortage of 66,000 police personnel in the national capital. We were ensured that a new fast-track court will be set up and nothing has happened till now. The promises the government made is only on papers.”
In 2018, upon hearing the news of the rape of an 8-month-old baby in Delhi, Swati Maliwal started a Rape Roko campaign. Swati had even visited the baby, who was admitted to the hospital. In an interview, Swati told,
I had gone to meet an 8-month-old rape victim. In the hospital, I took the little baby girl in my arms. The girl had many major injuries all over her body and she was still bleeding. She was crying because of the immense pain.”
In 2019, acting upon an anonymous tip-off, Swati Maliwal, along with the Delhi Police, busted a sex racket being operated from a spa in Rohini, Delhi.
In the same year, Swati Maliwal organised a women’s safety campaign named “Ched-Chaad Par Hockey Chaar.”
In 2019, Swati Maliwal started a campaign in an attempt to spread awareness on the menstrual cycle in women, she also demanded due rights for working women professionals, both in formal and informal sectors, during their menstrual cycle.
In 2020, demanding stricter laws against rapists, Swati Maliwal, once again, went on a hunger strike.
In 2021, Swati Maliwal’s tenure as the Chairperson of DCW was extended for three more years by the Delhi Government. In 2021, the DCW issued a notice to Justdial and asked the Delhi Police to lodge an FIR against the company. The company was accused of providing contact information of the spas in Delhi, which were involved in operating sex rackets. In 2022, Swati Maliwal wrote a letter to the Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, seeking the removal of a commercial made by a deodorant company, Layer’r Shot, for the deleterious portrayal of women through their advertisement. The DCW also demanded that the ad should be removed from all the platforms. In an interview, the Chairperson of the DCW stated,
The deodorant advertisement blatantly promotes the rape mentality in the country. We have issued a notice to the Delhi Police that an FIR must be registered and the ad of the company must be immediately taken down from all of the platforms.”
Alleged nepotism in Swati’s appointment as the Chairperson of DCW
In 2015, when Swati Maliwal was appointed as the Chairperson of DCW by the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi Government, several sources claimed that she was appointed as the Chairperson because she is Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s cousin sister (Mausi’s daughter). The Economic Times
War of words with the Lt Governor of Delhi
In 2015, after Swati’s appointment as the Chairperson of DCW, she accused that the then Lt Governor of Delhi, Najeeb Jung, had asked her not to come to the office to work. In his defence, the Lt Governor denied the accusations and called Swati’s allegations baseless and false. Hindustan Times
Allegations of casteism
In 2018, an FIR was lodged by a family in Delhi against Swati Maliwal. In the FIR, the family stated that the DCW’s Chairperson had hurled casteist slurs at the family on their doorstep. While conducting an anti-alcohol drive, Swati received information about a family that was involved in making and distributing hooked alcohol in their locality. When Swati confronted the family, the family rushed inside their home and locked the front door, which further infuriated Swati. DNA India
Bois Locker Room
In 2020, an Instagram account named “Siddharth” leaked some screenshots from an Instagram messaging group named Bois Locker Room. The participants of the Instagram group were alleged to be planning on sexually assaulting a classmate. When Swati Maliwal came to know of the issue, she immediately ordered the Delhi Police to lodge an FIR against the members of the group and arrest them. Swati was widely criticised for not waiting for the Delhi Police to complete their investigations and jumping to conclusions. She even revealed the names of the members of the group, who were minors. When the Delhi Police completed their investigations, it was revealed that the Instagram account named “Siddharth” was a fake account made by a girl, with the intent of instigating the boys to sexually assault her to which all of the male members refused to be a part of. A boy, whose’s name was revealed by Swati, committed suicide, fearing humiliation. This incident angered the citizens, and they began to demand Swati’s immediate arrest. No action was taken against Swati as the incident was pushed under the rug by the AAP-led Delhi Government. The Free Press Journal
Taking matters of law into her own hands
In 2022, in a fit of rage, Swati Maliwal slapped a man, who was accused of burning his wife. When Swati Maliwal posted the video of her publicly slapping the man, she was criticised by the citizens. She was also criticised by the citizens for taking matters of justice into her own hands and resorting to violence whereas the man was only accused and not yet proven guilty by any court of law. Voice For Men India
Received criticism for accusing her father of sexually assaulting her
On 11 March 2023, she accused her father of sexually and physically assaulting her in childhood. Maliwal revealed this while speaking to reporters after Delhi Commission for Women’s International Women’s Day Awards ceremony. Maliwal said,
I was sexually assaulted by my father when I was a child. I was very small at that time. My father used to beat me up and I used to hide under the bed to save myself. This happened till I was in Class 4.” The Telegraph
Her accusations against her father later received heavy criticism, and many people questioned her intention behind these allegations against her father. While reacting to Maliwal’s accusations, former Chairperson of Delhi Commission for Women Barkha Shukla said,
I think Swati Maliwal has lost her mental balance. That’s why she talks like this. First she made many serious allegations about her husband, after which she is now accusing her dead father. She is making allegations in such a manner which does not exist in this world, it is absolutely wrong and extremely shameful.” The Hindu
Swati Maliwal’s salary as the Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women is Rs 30,000 + other allowances.
- In 2002, for being among the highest scorers in India in the English language, the CBSE presented her with a Certificate of Merit.
- In 2006, after completing her graduation, Swati Maliwal was offered a job at HCL, which she refused to accept and decided to work in the field of social service.
- In 2011, Swati Maliwal became the youngest core member of Anna’s anti-corruption campaign in Delhi.
- In 2018, Swati Maliwal slammed her ex-husband Naveen Jaihind for making a controversial remark after the Rewari gang rape case, in which he offered a sum of Rs 20 Lakh to any BJP leader who would get sexually assaulted by 10 men. In an interview, she said,
I sympathise with his anger and pain but I do not sympathise with what he has spoken. I do not agree with his statement and I condemn it. I would suggest to Naveen Jaihind that it is okay that you are feeling angry but when you are in public space you need to control your anger. You need to be careful of what you are speaking.”
- On 19 January 2023, a car allegedly dragged her near AIIMS Hospital in south Delhi. Police reported that a person driving a Maruti Suzuki Baleno approached her near the hospital, asked her to sit in the car, and when she reprimanded him, he dragged her after her hand got stuck in the window. Later, Ms. Maliwal took to Twitter to question the safety of women in the capital and wrote,
- On 21 August 2023, Swati Maliwal went to a hospital where a minor, who had been assaulted for months by a senior Delhi government official named Premoday Khakha, was admitted; however, Swati was denied permission to meet the girl or her mother by Delhi Police. As a result, she stayed outside the hospital overnight.
In an interview, Maliwal raised the point that if the NCPCR chairperson was allowed to meet the survivor’s mother, why was she, as the Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, not allowed for the same. On 22 August 2023, she wrote to Amit Shah, the Minister of Home Affairs of India, requesting an enquiry into the matter.