SC upholds HC directions on welfare of poor girls in J&K

New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India has asked Jammu and Kashmir government to give effect to the directions given by the J&K High Court for a comprehensive scheme for the betterment of poor girls in the state.
On December 30 last year, a division bench of the J&K High Court comprising Justices Virender Singh and Muzaffar Hussain Attar had asked government to give poor girls a minimum of Rs 25,000 each and five grams of gold at the time of their marriage to enable them live a dignified life and prevent their exploitation.
As government has already identified 3 lakh, 73 thousand and 86 poor girls, the Division Bench had also asked government to formulate an exclusive scheme for them.
Subsequently, the state government moved Supreme Court by filing a Special Leave Petition against the order.
While disposing of the SLP, a division bench of the apex court comprising Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Vikramajit Sen on Monday said that there was ‘no illegality’ in the directions by the High Court.
“We are happy to note that the state government is doing a laudable work for improvement of the fate of destitute girls. Over and above, the High Court has also given some directions. We find no illegality in those directions,” the bench said.
While appreciating the work done by the state government for carrying out various schemes for the betterment of the girls, the bench said, “Let them also give effect to the directions given by the High Court for a comprehensive scheme for the betterment of the girls, which will be in accordance with Article 21 of the Constitution.”
The High Court had directed government that the exclusive scheme for girls should be based on seven considerations.
“Areas be carved out in both urban and rural areas, which are in close proximity with each other, from where these girls have been identified,” reads the first suggestion to be considered by the government.
“Two or three mohalla/wards in urban areas and one or two villages in rural areas can constitute a unit,” reads the second consideration.
“The girls of these areas be made part of society/cooperative society which shall be exclusively for these girls and for their benefits,” reads the third one.
“The amount which would be required for launching these societies shall be provided by the government,” says the fourth consideration.
“These girls, wherever required shall be imparted training in handicraft, tailoring, knitting, poultry and analogous and identified jobs,” the fifth suggestion says.
“The Societies/Cooperative Societies of these girls shall he provided all incentives to work.  The products of these Societies/Cooperative Societies, shall be purchased by the Handicraft Department/Handicraft Corporation of the state. The payments to these Societies/Cooperative Societies shall be made at the time of purchase of the products itself. Further profits earned by these government outlets shall be shared by Societies/Cooperative Societies in equal proportions,” reads the penultimate suggestion.
Lastly, the court asked the government to provide all necessary paraphernalia to enable the girls to start the activities.
Regarding the direction on marriage, the court asked the government to constitute a separate fund. For the fund, the court had said, the government would be at liberty to seek donations from “philanthropists”.
“This fund shall be utilized for marriage purpose of the girls who are identified by the state authorities themselves. A minimum of Rs 25,000 shall be paid to a girl who is to be married, and as far as possible, five grams of gold shall be given to the girl who is to be married.”