STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: A Division Bench (DB) of the State High Court comprising Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Sindhu Sharma on Tuesday directed Directors, Social Welfare Department, Jammu/Kashmir to file the updated status with reference to grant of pension in favour of the old aged, differently-abled and widows by or before the next date of hearing. The court direction came in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Viklang Chattra Trust seeking better care of old age home. After hearing Senior Advocate Sunil Sethi with Advocate Parimoksh Seth for the PIL whereas Deputy AG Vishal Bharti for the State, the DB observed that reportedly over 2,63,620 applications are pending with the Department of Social Welfare at different levels for grant of pension under the Old Age Pension Scheme and in the earlier status report filed by the respondents, it was averred that the delay in the disbursement of pension is because of the scrutiny of the record of the applicants. The DB observed that in terms of order dated May 8, 2019, the State Counsel had sought and was granted time to conduct the verification of all the applications and disburse the benefit as per the schemes in favour of such applicants whose claims are found to be genuine. When the matter came-up for hearing, Vishal Bharti produced a photocopy of Government Order No. 154-SW of 2019 dated July 8, 2019, having reference to the decision of the State Administrative Council bearing No. 167/17/2019 dated July 3, 2019, whereby the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, in order to ensure transparency in the disbursement of pension benefits; to avoid delay in the delivery of benefits to the targeted groups; to ensure coverage of left out eligible beneficiaries; and in pursuance of the provisions of the Panchayati Raj Act, 2018 and the Jammu and Kashmir Aadhaar (Targeted delivery of financial and other subsides, benefits and services) Act, 2018, has accorded sanction to the Deputy Commissioners of the districts to ensure vigorous and detailed re-scrutinization of all the pending cases in the District subject to the provisions of the Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 and ensure that all eligible cases duly supported by Aadhaar numbers are forwarded to the respective Directorates of Social Welfare latest by July 31, 2019. The Directorates of Social Welfare Department, Jammu/ Kashmir are directed to ensure that subject to the provisions of the Panchayati Raj Act, 2018, the process of Aadhaar Seeding and consequent de-duplication and weeding out of in-eligible cases of all approved cases is expedited and concluded by September 30, 2019 in the light of the Jammu and Kashmir Aadhaar (Targeted delivery of financial and other subsidies and services) Act, 2018. In addition, a list of all widows below 40 years of age, not covered under the ongoing Scheme be also complied. Copy of the Government order aforesaid is taken on record. Upon this, DB urged Sunil Sethi, the Amicus Curiae, to assist the Court with reference to availability of the power of the Government to link the grant of pension in favour of old aged, differently-abled and widows with the Aadhaar numbers of the beneficiaries.
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