Rashid Paul

HC asks DSW, SLSA to report about beneficiaries for inclusion in marriage assistance progs

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Srinagar, Feb 09: The J&K High Court on Friday gave one more opportunity to concerned State government officials for filing a fresh report about the number of poor girls in the state as per the latest survey for inclusion in the marriage assistance programmes.

A division bench directed the Director, Social Welfare Department (SWD) and the Member Secretary, State Legal Services Authority J&K to file to file a fresh report as per the latest survey about the poor and destitute girls in the state.

In case of failure, the duo has been directed to remain present before the court on the next date of hearing of the case.

To ensure that the benefits of the two schemes formulated for poor and destitute girls in the state reach them appropriately, the High Court had last year directed the State government to conduct a new survey about the number of poor and destitute girls in the state.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the issues of welfare and providing financial assistance to the poor girls, the court directed for proper functioning of two schemes namely “HUNNAR” and “SMAS”.

Court, in this connection, also directed the State Legal Services Authority through its Member Secretary to conduct random inspection at district levels and ascertain the sincerity in these schemes on the ground.

Court directed the Member Secretary to obtain reports from all districts with regard to working of these schemes and inform the court accordingly. Court also directed for proper publicity and awareness of these schemes among the people so that deserving girls may get benefit from these schemes.

The court had sought personal appearance of Commissioner/Secretary Social Welfare Department in case amendment to the Form-I as clearance of pending applications of beneficiaries was not done within a short period of time.

Authorities after identifying the poor girls under the scheme (SMAS) are duty-bound to provide these girls an amount of Rs 25000 each and five grams of gold for living what the policy-makers called a “dignified life”.

On the issue of sexual harassment of women, the court at the time had sought response from government to its observations wherein it observed that a sexual favor could encompass anything from an inappropriate suggestion, improper touch to sexual intercourse.

Court observed that it is the duty of the State to ensure circumstances of emotional and physical security which inspire confidence in women to live freely and to ensure the constitutional goal of equality by creating a level playing field for them in all spheres of life.

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