Srinagar: The High Court said on Thursday it was “horrifying” that some poor girls have not been able to marry because of poverty despite crossing 40.
Hearing a Public Interest litigation, a division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey also expressed hope the state government will not lose any time in implementing court’s directions—identify the poor girls who are getting married and provide them Rs 25,000 in cash and 5gms of gold— and issue necessary orders within two weeks.
“The perusal of the list of the identified poor girls is horrifying because of the abject poverty some of these girls who have even crossed 40 years of age have remained unmarried,” the court observed after going through a status report filed by the state government through advocate general Jahangir Iqbal Ganie.
“This really shocks us deep down to our conscience,” the court added.
Before the judges made these observations, Ganie said the state government will comply with court directions, which include providing a preamble to the State Marriage Assistance Scheme for poor girls and mentioning in the scheme the names of the already identified girls.
The advocate general submitted that the two draft government orders have been forwarded to Finance Department.
The government has already identified 373,086 poor girls in the state and the court in 2013 had asked it to formulate an exclusive scheme for them.
Besides directions about their marriage, the court has directed government to formulate exclusive scheme for the girls and had laid down the broad parameters for it.
“Areas (should) be carved out in both urban and rural areas, which are in close proximity with each other, from where these girls have been identified. Two or three mohallas/wards in urban areas and one or two villages in rural areas can constitute a unit,” the court had said.
The court had also directed government to carve out exclusive cooperative or other societies for the girls and for their benefits.
The amount required for launching these societies, court had directed shall be provided by the government.
“These girls, wherever required shall be imparted training in handicraft, tailoring, knitting, poultry and analogous and identified jobs,” the court had said, with a further direction that the products of these Societies shall be purchased by the Handicraft Department and 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.”
Lastly, the court had asked the government to provide all necessary paraphernalia to enable the girls to start the activities.
The court was hearing the PIL, which was initially a petition, seeking quashing of a Public Safety Act 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.