SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court Friday directed Social Welfare Department to give wide publicity to HUNAR and SMAS (State Marriage Assistance Scheme) schemes.
The court noted that despite its directions in November, no compliance report has been filed with regard to publicity of women oriented schemes in the state.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan remarked that Member Secretary, State Legal services authority and Secretary of District Legal services authority have also not filed status.
“We direct Member Secretary, SLSA and Secretary DLSA to place a report with respect to orders passed on 28 November, 2018,” the DB ordered.
Amicus Bashir Ahmed Bashir informed the court that surveys conducted in 2014 and 2017 identified 3,92,682 beneficiaries under the schemes but only 18,200 girls have been covered.
The bench directed the official respondents to publicise the schemes and ensure that it is done immediately.
“The State Legal Services Authority was to file response within four weeks,” court directed.
Earlier, court had 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,” the court had said.
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.