The Supreme Court today castigated the Centre and states for not taking necessary steps for the welfare of widows. “Nobody is interested about the welfare of widows,” a bench comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta observed. There are provisions in this regard which are supposed to be implemented by the Centre and the states but no action has been taken, it rued.
“Have you seen the plight of these widows? What are we supposed to do,” the bench told the counsel representing the Centre. When the Centre’s counsel sought some time to respond to the affidavits given by the states, the bench shot back, “That is all the Union of India does. Prays for time. Time is eternal. What else can we do except to give time?”
“Nobody want to look after them (widows). When their families do not want to look after them, how can we expect the Union of India to look after them,” the bench observed. The court directed the Centre to update its information on this issue as soon as possible and said that in case there was some deficiency in compliance of the directions by the states, the Centre should communicate to them.
It also asked the Centre to respond to the report given by a six-member committee, set up by the apex court to study the reports furnished before the court about the condition of widows and come up with a common working plan, within a week and listed the matter for hearing on February 7. At the outset, the bench expressed its displeasure after the counsel representing the Centre sought some time to get instructions in the matter.
“Are you supposed to take instructions in the court? Why should we adjourn it? This is such a waste of time,” the bench said and passed over the matter for sometime.
The apex court had earlier taken note of the “pathetic” condition of widows after a plea was filed in 2007 highlighting how they lived in welfare homes in Vrindavan.
It had referred to various reports filed by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), District Legal Services Authority and National Commission for Women 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 water and electricity facilities.