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States asked about giving flowers offered in temples to widows for earning livelihood: Centre to SC


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Centre today told the Supreme Court that it has asked all states to respond to a suggestion on widows, living in shelter homes, using flowers offered in temples to earn a livelihood by making perfume, coloured powder or incense sticks.
A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta was also informed by the government that it would not be possible to have convergence of several schemes meant for destitute women and widows due to several issues, including cultural diversity.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A N S Nadkarni told the bench that the Centre has already informed all the states on the issue of floral offerings in temples across the country and some states have responde as well.
He said that repair works of widow homes at Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh was almost complete and maintenance of such homes across the country would be done by the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd (HUDCO) and the states would give their respective contribution in this regard to the corporation.
The bench, while taking on record the submissions made by the ASG, disposed of the petition which had raised the issue of pathetic condition of widows living in welfare homes at Vrindavan.
The apex court said no order was required to be passed in the matter in view of the submissions made by the ASG.
The counsel appearing for Uttar Pradesh government told the bench that some repair works in shelter homes for widows at Vridavan was going on and they would take them over on or before August 31.
The bench said that these shelter homes for widows must be made operational from September 1 this year.
The bench also lauded the "gesture" of HUDCO in coming forward for maintenance of shelter homes for widow and said, "We expect them to continue with their activity".
It also appreciated the petitioner for raising this issue before the court and said. that further grievance, if any, could be raked up before the National Commission for Women or the state commissions for women respectively.
At the outset, the bench expressed its anguish that three states -- Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand -- have not yet deposited the cost imposed on them earlier by the court for either not heeding to the Centre's proposal for setting up an expert committee or giving "incomplete information" to the Ministry of Women and Child Development on the issue.
Meanwhile, the counsel appearing for Karnataka and Maharashtra told the bench that they have already deposited the cost of Rs 50,000 and Rs 25,000 imposed on them.
The court expressed its displeasure Uttarakhand had neither deposited the cost of Rs 25,000 nor any lawyer was appearing on their behalf in the matter.
"This is a joke," the bench said. "They do not have money to pay cost to the Supreme Court but they have money to pay to lawyers who are not present in the court".
The bench imposed a further cost of Rs 1 lakh on Uttarakhand and warned that if the money was not deposited, it would be constrained to call the chief secretary of the state to explain as to why orders of the court were not complied with.
The apex court had earlier said that the Centre should consider framing "one proper and first class" composite scheme by merging a plethora of existing ones.
It had earlier 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.
The top court had earlier taken note of the "pathetic" condition of widows after a plea was filed in 2007 about the situation prevailing in welfare homes at Vrindavan.
One of the reports had said there was lack of proper toilets and bathrooms in the shelter homes, besides poor water and electricity facilities.

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First Published: Jul 31 2018 | 8:05 PM IST

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