New Delhi, Mar 30 (PTI) The Supreme Court has chastised several states for not giving information to the Centre on the action plan for the uplift and welfare of widows and destitute women, terming it as “extremely unfortunate”.
The apex court, after perusing the compliance affidavit filed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, also observed that the information given by certain states were incomplete.
A bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta directed all states and union territories to provide “full and complete information” to the ministry within two weeks.
“A perusal of the affidavit (filed by the ministry) indicates that there are some states that have not submitted the necessary information to the Ministry … and there are some states where the information given is incomplete. We find this extremely unfortunate,” the bench noted in its order.
The top court had earlier asked the states and union territories to inform the state commissions for women, National Commission for Women (NCW) and the ministry about the steps they propose to take so that there was a combined effort and monitoring to improve the conditions of widows.
“We expect the NCW to assist the Ministry of Women and Child Development in collection of information and analysis of the information,” it said and posted the matter for hearing on May 2.
During the hearing, the lawyer representing NCW suggested that there were large number of schemes for destitute women and widows and it would be appropriate if its compilation and analysis was made available.
“In view of the submission made, we direct all the state governments and union territories administrations to supply through e-mail to the Ministry of Women and Child Development and to the NCW all the schemes that are in force for destitute women,” the bench said.
It asked the NCW to analyse all the schemes and come out with “one suitable, implementable and model scheme”.
On February 7, the apex court had observed that state authorities did not appear to be interested in the welfare of widows and stressed the need for combined effort to improve their condition.
The court had earlier asked the ministry to respond to the report of a six-member panel set up by it to study the reports furnished before the court about the condition of widows and come up with a common working plan.
It had earlier taken note of the “pathetic” condition of widows after a plea was filed in 2007 highlighting how they lived in welfare homes in Vrindavan.
It had referred to various reports filed by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), District Legal Services Authority and NCW on the condition of shelter homes for widows in Vrindavan.
One of the reports had said that there was lack of proper toilets and bathrooms in the shelter homes, besides poor water and electricity facilities.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.