New Delhi, Mar 27 (PTI) The Supreme Court today asked the temples of Vrindavan in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh to give flowers offered by devotees to the shelter homes run for widows and destitute women for making perfume, coloured powder or incense sticks so that the inmates have a source of livelihood.

The top court said that the Centre may consider extending this scheme to all major temples of the country at Varanasi, Tirupati and Puri.

A bench of justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said that the temples in Vrindavan dump these flowers offered by devotees in river Yamuna which in turn results in pollution.

“If these flowers are given to the shelter homes run for widows and destitute women by the Uttar Pradesh government, it may provide some livelihood for them,” the bench said.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development may consider extending this scheme to all major temple cities for welfare of widows and destitute.

It directed all state government to give details of shelter homes, including the number of widows and destitute women in these institutions.

The bench also asked Uttar Pradesh to give details of various schemes run for the welfare of these widows/destitute women, to enable the extension of beneficial schemes in other states.

On February 7, the apex court had observed that state authorities do not appear to be interested in the welfare of widows and stressed on the need for a combined effort to improve their condition.

It had said that several posts in the state commissions for women (SCW) were lying vacant in various states and there was “lack of communication” between the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the states on the action plan agreed upon for welfare of widows.

It had told the Centre that there has to be a scheme for utilisation of funds given by the Centre to states for the welfare of widows.

The court had said the state governments and UTs should inform the SCWs concerned, National Commission for Women as also the WCD ministry about the steps they proposed to take so that there is a combined effort and monitoring to improve the conditions of widows.

The SC 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.

The apex court 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 National Commission for Women 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.