Court wants more shelter homes for women in KP Bureau Report | Sep-11/2013 12:00:00 AM
Aug 11, 2013
PESHAWAR, Sept 10: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday directed the provincial government to increase the number of shelter homes for destitute women in the province, preferably one in every district.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Dost Mohammad Khan and Justice Musarrat Hilali ordered the provincial Social Welfare Department to move a summary to the Finance Department for regularising services of the employees of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Welfare Centres for Women and adjusting them in the new shelter homes to be established by the government.
The Social Welfare Department was told to prepare a summary for justifying the creation of new crisis centres/shelter homes for women before sending it to the Finance Department within 15 days for approval.
The bench observed that the number of women deserting homes was on the rise for multiple factors, including domestic violence, sudden death of parents and serious law and order situation.
It observed that in certain districts, orphan girls of adolescent age searched forshelter but the same was not available in several districts.
The bench was hearing two writ petitions filed by the Shaheed Benazir Welfare Centres for Women employees, including Aneela Rehman, Waheedullah and others, challenging the denial of salary to them.
When the bench began hearing, some women petitioners said in June 2012, the court had ordered the government to release their salary and stayed their expected removal from service. They said after the court orders, their salary was released but two months ago, the government had again stopped its payment.
The said the centres were set up by the federal government many years ago and after the passage of the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 2010, their supervision was transferred to the provincial government.
Assistant director (legal) of the Social Welfare Directorate, Bilal Khan, informed the bench that there were four Shaheed Benazir Centres for Women and they were closed down in Swat, Abbottabad and Peshawar, where darul aman had already existed, while the onein Kohat was still functional.
He said the project had ended and therefore, the centres had closed down and the department had been facing problem in payment of salary.
The bench observed that in several districts, there was not a single crisis centre or shelter home for women though there was a dire need for its establishment it.
The chief justice said in Malakand, there was no centre in Chitral, Upper and Lower Dir, Buner, etc.
The bench asked the official that when a stay order was already issued in favour of the petitioners, then how their salaries could be stopped.
It observed that why these employees had not been absorbed in the department as they were trained and experienced.
The official said for absorbing them, they would have to get permission from the Finance Department as it amounted to creation of new posts.
The court ruled that under Article 14 of the Constitution, dignity of man and privacy of home were inviolable rights of individuals and it was responsibility of the state to protect life and dignity of the people, especially women.