The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the state government to implement its marriage assistance schemes for poor and destitute girls after identifying them in every district of J&K.
The court has also directed the government to start an awareness campaign so that more and more people come to know about the scheme. The directive follows the State Social Welfare Department’s failure to produce the list of destitute girls who have availed the benefits of the scheme so far. Listening to a Public Interest Litigation, the division bench of J&K High Court said that they have been assured by the Commissioner Secretary, State Social Welfare Department, that the marriage assistance schemes for poor girls will be implemented in letter and spirit.
The Advocate General on behalf of the government assured the court that the benefits accruing from the State Marriage Assistance Scheme and HUNAR schemes, which have been launched by the government in pursuance of earlier court directions, would be provided to the identified beneficiary girls and a compliance report about the implementation of the schemes would be submitted to the court. The J&K High Court had earlier asked the government to identify poor and destitute girls who have reached the marriageable age and provide them with a marriage assistance of Rs 25,000 and five grams of gold. The court intervention came after a PIL was filed alleging that the state government has ignored thousands of poor and destitute girls who have attained marriageable age. It is in place to mention that in 2004, the J&K government had identified 373,086 poor girls in the state, and the same figures were quoted again in the J&K High Court.