The Supreme Court on Wednesday slapped fines on Jammu and Kashmir and seven other state governments and pulled them up for “not bothering” about the welfare of widows and destitute women by not heeding to New Delhi’s proposal for setting up expert committee to deal with the problem.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta also suggested that New Delhi should consider framing “one proper and first class” composite scheme by merging a plethora of existing ones, which was accepted by the government, the Hindustan Times reported.
“If they (states) do not want to do it, they will not do this. If they are not bothered about women of their own state, then what should we do. There are issues raised about gender justice, but they are not bothered. They do not want to do anything,” the bench said.
The top court imposed cost of Rs 50,000 each on Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka and Odisha and directed them to deposit it within four weeks with the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee for utilisation in issues related to juvenile justice.
It also slapped cost of Rs 25,000 each on Maharashtra, West Bengal, Punjab, Uttarakhand for giving “incomplete information” to the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
During the hearing, the court asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A N S Nadkarni, representing the ministry, about the issue of convergence of several schemes for destitute women and widows.
“Instead of having so many schemes, why don’t you have one proper and first class scheme? Why are there so many schemes,” the bench asked the ASG.
The court posted the matter for hearing on July 31.
On February 7, the apex court had observed that state authorities did not appear to be interested in the welfare of widows and stressed on the need for a combined effort to improve their condition.