SRINAGAR, Oct 23: The High Court today directed the Social Welfare Department to ensure that the two schemes formulated for poor and destitute girls in the State are working properly.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation on the issues of welfare and providing financial assistance to the poor girls, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe 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 have random inspection at district levels and take stock whether these schemes are properly working or not.
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 deserved girls may get benefit from these schemes.
High Court today sought personal appearance of Commissioner/Secretary Social Welfare Department in case amendment to the Form-I and clearance of pending application of beneficiaries is not done by next date.
Authorities after identifying the poor girls under the scheme (SMAS) and Court directions are duty bound to provide them an amount of Rs. 25000 each and 5 gms of gold for living a dignified life.
Court has also sought response from Government to its observations wherein Court on sexual harassment has observed that a sexual favour could encompass anything from an inappropriate suggestion, improper touch to sexual intercourse.
Court has 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 circumstances.
“It cannot be denied that prescription of a statute rendering the afore-noticed obnoxious acts as penal offences would go a long way in achieving this Constitutional goal so far as girls and women are concerned”, court said.
Further court said that it is absolutely imperative that the illegal acts, unwarranted demands and in appropriate contacts are given a legal nomenclature, clearly defined and also made specifically punishable in law and that the critical vacuum in the legislation in this regard is immediately addressed.
In this connection Chief Secretary has been asked to examine these issues and take appropriate steps and report the court on next date.