The High Court on Friday directed Social Welfare Department (SWD) to give wider publicity to Hunar and State Marriage Assistance Scheme (SMAS) meant for destitute girls of the State.
The division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan directed Member Secretary State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) and Secretary of District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) to place a report with regard to the order passed on 28 November 2018.
The direction was passed after the bench observed that the authorities have failed to file the compliance report with regard to women oriented schemes in Jammu and Kashmir despite of the Court ordrer dated November 28, 2019.
Amicus curiae, Bashir Ahmed Bashir informed the Court that the survey conducted in 2014 and 2017 has identified 3,92,682 beneficiaries under these schemes but only 18,200 beneficiaries have been covered under these schemes so far.
Hearing the counsel, the bench directed the official respondents to publicize the schemes and ensure its immediate effect. Court directed JKSLSA to file response within four weeks of time.
Earlier, Court had directed the Member Secretary, Legal Service Authority, and District Legal Service authorities to ensure that these schemes are made available to poor girls. “Every possible step must be taken so that outreach of these schemes will be at large,” the Court had said.
Previously, the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was initially a petition seeking quashing of Public Safety Act (PSA) order at the pre-execution stage against Mohammad Amin Beigh, a resident of Kulgam in south Kashmir, who was involved in immoral activities by exploiting female employees monetarily and physically, who were working under his supervision .
Under the garb of business, Beigh, who was running a private security agency, was ordered to be detained under the PSA by District Magistrate Srinagar on December 26, 2011 for indulging in immoral activities including physically exploiting poor girls as well as ‘supplying’ them to others.
It was in this case that a division bench of the High Court had called for an end to sexual abuse against women in any form by any public authority. In December last year, the Governor-led state administration had approved the Bill for Prevention of Corruption Act (Amended), 2018, to penalize such sexual abuse.
“Any person committing the offence of sextortion shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than three years, which may extend to five years along with fine. The offence is ‘non-bailable’ and ‘not compoundable’,” the Act says.