The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir has directed the Department of Social Welfare and Member Secretary, J&K State Legal Services Authority to examine the requirements and steps necessary to mitigate the complaints and difficulties of victims of elderly abuse, child violence, violence against disabled and transgender in the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh amid COVID 19 Lockdown.
A two-judge bench led by the Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal has directed the administration to submit a report on the measurers taken and steps under way and those contemplated for safety of these specific groups on the next date of hearing.
The Court was hearing a suo motu petition on increasing domestic violence in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh amid Covid 19 lockdown.
On the previous hearing the bench had passed a slew of directions to ensure safety of women and had directed the administration to place a report on the steps taken to ease the hardship of women in the UT’s.
As per the Courts direction the Principal Secretary, Department of Social Welfare submitted a report which states that “during January, 2020 to March, 2020, 81 cases of domestic violence stands registered in the UT of J&K and during the lock down period, the Social Welfare Department has reported that 16 cases of rape, 64 cases of molestation and one case of eve teasing have been reported. Rs. 10 lacs for each district of UT of J&K has been sanctioned out of SDRF fund for COVID-19 containment for victims of domestic violence for providing temporary accommodation, food clothing, medical care etc”
Further , the department of Disaster Management, Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (DMRR) has issued directions to all the Deputy Commissioner for designating 10 beds in each District Quarantine Centre exclusively and accessible for victims of domestic violence in the J&K.
While considering the report submitted by the government, the bench observed that it had overlooked certain specific groups such as senior citizens, children, the disabled and transgender who could also be victims of violence and need special protection.
-India Legal Bureau