Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Friday directed the Social Welfare Department to file a fresh report with respect to its latest survey undertaken for identification of poor and destitute girls in the state.
The department had earlier been directed by the HC to file a report with respect to court order dated 7 July, 2017, which said that the status and working of various schemes for women be periodically monitored and awareness generated about them.
On Friday, a division bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Sanjeev Kumar directed the Social Welfare Department to implement HUNAR and SMAS (State Marriage Assistance Scheme) schemes for women after the court was informed that no updated report was available with respect to these schemes.
The court directed the Member Secretary, Legal Service Authority, and District Legal Service authorities to ensure that these schemes were made available to poor girls.
“Every possible step must be taken so that outreach of these schemes will be at large. Let concerned officers file their reports on next date of hearing,” the court said.
The court also made it clear to authorities that in case reports were not submitted before the court on the next date, the Director Social Welfare Department and Member Secretary, Legal Services Authority, shall be present before court.
The court passed these directions on a PIL (public-interest litigation) that was initially a petition seeking quashing of a detention order under Public Safety Act (PSA) at the pre-execution stage against one Mohammad Amin Beigh, resident of Kulgam.
Beigh, who was running a private security agency, was ordered to be detained under PSA by District Magistrate Srinagar on December 26, 2011, for allegedly 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 penalise 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.