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Old age pension: HC directs SWD to file report
7/9/2019 11:21:18 PM
Early Times Report

Jammu, July 9: In a Public Interest Litigation filed by Viklang Chattra Trust seeking better care of old age home, a Division Bench of J&K High Court comprising Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Sindhu Sharma on Tuesday directed Director, Social Welfare Department, Jammu/Kashmir to file status report about grant of pension in favour of the old aged, the handicapped and the widows by or before the next date of hearing.
After hearing senior advocate Sunil Sethi for the petitioners and Deputy AG Vishal Bharti for the state, the bench observed that reportedly more than 2,63,620 applications are pending with the SWD at different levels for grant of pension under the Old Age Pension Scheme, and in the earlier status report filed by the respondents, it was averred that the delay in disbursement of pension was because of scrutiny of the record of the applicants.
The bench further observed that in terms of order dated May 8, 2019, the state counsel had sought and was granted time to conduct the verification of all the applications and disburse the benefit as per the schemes in favour of such applicants whose claims are found to be genuine.
On Tuesday, when the matter came up for hearing Vishal Bharti, the Deputy Advocate General, produced a copy of government order No. 154-SW of 2019 dated July 8, 2019, having reference to the decision of the State Administrative Council bearing No. 167/17/2019 dated 3RD of July 2019, whereby the government of Jammu and Kashmir, in order to ensure transparency in the disbursement of pension benefits; to avoid delay in the delivery of benefits to the targeted groups; to ensure coverage of left out eligible beneficiaries; and in pursuance of the provisions of the Panchayati Raj Act, 2018 and the Jammu and Kashmir Aadhar (Targeted Delivery of Financial And Other Subsides, benefits and Services) Act, 2018, has accorded sanction to the that the Deputy Commissioners of the districts are directed to ensure vigorous and detailed re-scrutinization of all the pending cases in the District subject to the provisions of the Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 and ensure that all eligible cases duly supported by Aadhar numbers are forwarded to the respective Directorates of Social Welfare latest by July, 31, 2019.
The Directorates of Social Welfare Department, Jammu/ Kashmir are directed to ensure that subject to the provisions of the Panchayati Raj Act, 2018, the process of Aadhar Seeding and consequent de-duplication and weeding out of in-eligible cases of all approved cases is expedited and concluded by September 30, 2019 in the light of the Jammu and Kashmir Aadhar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies And Services) Act, 2018. In addition, a list of all widows below 40 years of age, not covered under the ongoing Scheme be also complied."
The bench observed that having perused the government order (supra), "we request Mr Sunil Sethi, the learned Amicus Curiae, to assist the court with reference to availability of the power of the government to link the grant of pension in favour of Old aged, the Handicapped and widows with the Aadhar numbers of the beneficiaries."
SAC appoints Vasundhara Masoodi chairperson, J&K SCPWCR
The State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by Governor, Satya Pal Malik accorded sanction to the appointment of Vasundhara Pathak Masoodi as Chairperson of the Jammu & Kashmir State Commission for Protection of Women & Child Rights.
The Jammu & Kashmir State Commission for Protection of Women & Child Rights Act, 2018 provides for constitution of State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights and Courts for providing speedy trial of offences against women and children or violation of women and child rights
Section (4) of the Jammu & Kashmir State Commission for Protection of Women & Child Rights Act, 2018 provides for appointment of Chairperson and Members who shall be appointed on the recommendation of a three-member Selection Committee. Vide Government Order No. 329-GAD of 2019 dated 05th March 2019, a Selection Committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Advisor (G) to recommend a suitable name for the position of chairperson.
The Selection Committee held extensively deliberations to scrutinize the nominations in light of the relevant provisions of the Jammu & Kashmir State Commission for Protection of Women & Child Rights Act, 2018. After examining the relative merit of each nomination/application, the Selection Committee recommended the candidature of Vasundhara Pathak Masoodi for the position of Chairperson, Jammu & Kashmir State Commission for Protection of Women & Child Rights.
Vasundhara Pathak Masoodi is a practicing lawyer in the Supreme Court of India, High Courts of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir and various other Courts/Tribunals. She is a women and child rights activist, committed to the cause of women and children. She has successfully argued several cases relating to discrimination against women including the cases of domestic violence.
With the appointment of Chairperson, the Commission will start functioning to address various issues relating to the violation of women and child rights as per constitution and law.
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