Rashid Paul

Ascertain welfare of those who sought maintenance & assistance from Govt: HC to DSLAs

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Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Thursday directed the District Legal Services Authorities (DSLA) to ascertain the welfare of the persons who had sought maintenance and assistance from the government amid the lockdown period.

Passing its orders on a report submitted by the Member Secretary, JKSLSA, regarding litigation in 20 districts, the court found that in many cases, orders of maintenance have been passed but the complainants have not received payments of maintenance on account of lockdown.

“The maintenance would have been awarded so as to enable the complainants to meet their essential needs and deserves to be regularly made available. Efforts should be made by the DSLAs to ascertain the welfare of the persons who had sought maintenance and those granted may be in need of assistance”, directed the court.

It further directed the JKLSA to “continue to assist all needy people in terms of the several programs being pursued by it”.

The court also directed the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) to  “ensure that wide publicity is given with regard to schemes identified for assisting the victims of domestic violence including women, elderly persons, child abuse and transgenders so that they are made aware of the availability of the assistance”.

The court directed the Assistant Solicitor General of India to submit a report regarding the mechanism evolved in Ladakh to meet the needs of victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, child violence and violence against transgenders.

A report by the Principal Secretary SWD informed the court that Anganwadi Workers in J&K were best suited to provide the first place of contact and ‘One Stop Centers’ for counseling, legal aid, medical aid and temporary shelters to the victims and the needy.

It said a helpline 181 has been established for the contact of the victims.

The Report disclosed that J&K has 28000 Anganwadi Workers associated with each Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Municipal Wards.

Every Anganwadi Center, it said, looks after approximately 400-500 households. The workers are tasked with providing supplementary nutrition and pre-school education to children at Anganwadi Centers.

The Anganwadi Workers according to the report conduct surveys of all the families, especially mothers and children in their respective areas of work; make home visits in discharge of their duties and maintain liaison with other institutions including Mahila Mandals.

All these would assist in mitigating the issues arising out of violent situations, the court observed.

The court was further informed that ‘One Stop Centers’ are being developed in accordance with the Guidelines issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Women and Child Development.

As per these Guidelines, first line workers such as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) are involved for furthering the cause of women in distress.

The SWD report also disclosed that there are about 11,987 such workers functional at the ground level and manifest a diverse network of interaction with women in the communities of their area of work.

The court was also informed that the Department of Disaster Management Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction have directed  designation of 10 beds in each district quarantine center exclusively for the victims of domestic violence.

“Additional five beds in district quarantine centers have been reserved for other victims of violence – children, transgender, elderly and persons with disabilities”, it said.

It added that a fund up to Rs.10.00 lakhs per district out of SDRF have been allocated for victims of domestic violence and claimed that rupees two lakhs have been disbursed in each district among the victims of violence.

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