The Delhi High Court on Monday observed that the state government has taken adequate steps to provide financial assistance to widows through pensions and other schemes.
“Looking at the Delhi government’s affidavit, it appears that adequate steps have been taken by it to provide funds to the widows. We see no reason to further monitor this case,” said a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan.
The Department of Social Welfare had filed the affidavit in response to a petition by social activist Harpal Singh Rana through advocate Akhil Rana and Utkarsh Sharma, claiming that pensions to around 12,000 widows had been discontinued during the COVID-19 lockdown by the Ministry of Women and Child Development without any valid reason.
The AAP government said in the affidavit, filed through advocate Anjum Javed, that it is remitting monthly pensions to beneficiaries so that they did not face any financial hardship during the pandemic.
“… the Department of Social Welfare has not withheld or discontinued pensions in respect of any beneficiary on imaginary grounds,” the affidavit said.
“The whole process of filing applications for all pension schemes, that is, old-age and disability pensions as well as financial assistance under the Delhi Family Benefit Scheme of the Department is online only.”
It said the money given under the Head “Financial Assistance to Widows for Performing Marriages of their Daughters” has been increased to Rs 1 lakh from Rs 60,000.
Rana told the court in his petition that as per a Right to Information reply, pensions of around 12,000 widows had been discontinued by the Ministry.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government also told the court that the status of the online applications is sent by the portal on the mobile numbers of the applicants. In offline cases, the status (acceptance/rejection) is conveyed by district offices through anganwadi/ASHA workers and displayed on the e-district portal.