SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court on Saturday directed all district heads to file a report about the number of beneficiaries benefitted by State Marriage Assistance Scheme (SMAS) in each district of the state.
The court also sought details about the implementation of Hunar scheme and directed Commissioner Secretary Social Welfare department to come up with the reports on the two schemes within two weeks.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench headed by Chief Justice, Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey directed the government to decide the marriage assistance application and disburse the amount in the beneficiary account within a week.
“If marriage of a girl is to be take place in September and application is processed the next year then what is the fun of having such scheme,” the court remarked.
Seeking the report on the SMAS scheme, the court asked for information regarding the number of applications received, pending, rejected, and point out the reasons for pendency on next date of hearing.
It also observed that awareness should be generated about these schemes so that more girls are benefitted and steps must be initiated by the state to help out more people from these schemes.
Under SMAS, an eligible poor girl beneficiary will be entitled to a one-time financial assistance of Rs 35,000 and five grams of gold from district social welfare officers (DSWOs), while Hunar is a skill development programme for the girls living below poverty line.
An SMAS applicant, who was present during the hearing, told the court that she had deposited her application last year .
“My application has been processed, everything from income certificate to marriage affidavit is there but DC Srinagar is not signing the application pertaining to reason for fresh survey. The girls belonging to poor background have crossed 40 years and are still unmarried because nobody wants to marry a poor,” she said. “They only go through those applications which are highly recommended and not deserving. For me these 40,000 rupees are like 40 lac rupees because I belong to a poor family.”
The PIL was initially a petition, seeking quashing of PSA order at the pre-execution stage against one Mohammad Amin Beigh, a resident of Kulgam in south Kashmir.
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.