Widows’ plight: SC asks Centre to convene meet to frame norms
New Delhi : The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to convene a meeting for considering suggestions mooted by the National Commission for Women (NCW) and formulate directions to improve the condition of destitute widows in the country.
A bench comprising Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta was intimated by the counsel for the Ministry of Women and Child Development that a meeting is scheduled on April 13 to consider the suggestions of the NCW and the experts.
The court said the government and other stakeholders should sit together and come out with a list of “agreed directions” which may be passed by it on April 21, the next date of hearing.
“It appears that some more efforts are required to be made for improving the conditions of widows in different parts of the country,” it had earlier observed.
The counsel for the ministry had told the court that it will be appropriate “if agreed directions are formulated and issued so that immediate steps are taken to improve the conditions of widows”.
The court had said that “some more efforts” were required for improving the condition of widows living in the shelter homes.
It had taken note of the situation of widows after a petition was filed in 2007 portraying their pathetic condition in the welfare homes at the holy city of Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh.
The apex court had earlier referred to various reports filed by the National Legal Services Authority, the District Legal Services Authority and the NCW 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 facility of water and electricity.
The court had also pulled up the NCW and its Uttar Pradesh counterpart for their apathy to the pitiable condition of Vrindavan widows in shelter homes.
The court was hearing the pleas seeking directions to the Centre and the state government to provide shelter and other necessary facilities to the widows in Vrindavan who have been abandoned by their family members.
The apex court had also appointed a seven-member panel to collect data on their socio-economic conditions. A majority of the 1,000-odd widows interviewed earlier in Vrindavan by the NCW have children who do not care for them.
In a report filed in the apex court, the statutory women’s body had recommended fixing of liability on the children under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.