Srinagar, Oct 23: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday came down heavily on authorities of social welfare department from for extending the time limit from 15 days to 22 days for processing and disbursement of benefits to poor girls under State Marriage Assistance Scheme (SMAS).
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a Division Bench of the court comprising Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmad and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey underlined that the SWD was bound to process and thereafter grant benefits to the poor girls in the state under ‘SMAS’ & ‘HUNNAR’ schemes with a period of 15 day as the court directed.
“Why the time line from 15 days to 22 days has been changed. You took law into you own hands, you should have come to court with an application seeking extension of time line. Don’t undermine the court. We are exercising a lot of self restraint. Otherwise court is not powerless,” the court according to Kashmir Glory observed.
The observation followed after amicus curie and Senior Advocate B A Bashir informed the court about the same.
On previous hearing, the government informed that 4114 cases have been sanctioned till ending March this year and during the current financial year, 1158 cases stand sanctioned, making the total sanctioned number of cases as 5272 under SMAS scheme upto August 21.
By virtue of the order on 13 June 2016, several provisions of the State Marriage Assistance Scheme (SMAS) for poor girls were interpreted by the court in terms of the meaning implicit in the scheme. In particular, it was indicated that the information sought at sr.no.8 of Form-I of the Scheme with regard to date of marriage and documentary evidence would not be necessary where such documentary evidence was not available. It was ordered that where the date of marriage was not fixed but marriage was imminent, the beneficiary should file an affidavit stating that her marriage has been fixed but the date has not been set and that in the absence of any documentary evidence
The court was hearing the PIL which was initially a petition, seeking quashing of PSA order at the pre-execution stage against one Mohammad Amin Beigh, a resident of Kulgam in south Kashmir.
Beigh—who was running a private security agency— was ordered to be detained under the PSA by District Magistrate Srinagar on December 26, 2011 for indulging in immoral activities including physically exploiting poor girls as well as ‘supplying’ them to others.