The Sindh High Court has directed district and sessions judges to make surprise visits to Darul Aman, Darul Atfal and rescue centres and shelter houses established by the government for women and children in need and take steps to ensure the well-being of those living there.
The directives came on Thursday on a petition with regard to protecting the rights of needy women and orphans in the province. Sindh Advocate General Salman Talibuddin filed a compliance report and informed the court that safe houses shall be established in all districts to protect the lives and liberty of women in need, while rescue centres have been established at taluka level throughout Sindh.
He submitted that the social welfare department has been further directed to examine the status and on ground position of all safe houses and submit a proposal for making them fully-functional with all required resources. The AG said the social welfare department secretary will be the focal person to coordinate with all departments and ensure compliance with orders passed by the court with regard to women’s issues in various petitions.
The SHC bench headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar observed that the objectives and purposes of such things are undeniably relating to basic liabilities of the state and guaranteed fundamental rights of women, people with disabilities, deserted children as well those requiring assistance of the state towards their reformation hence any delay is continuity of infringement of fundamental rights, exposing any guilty of negligence to process of the law.
The court pointed out that reports of district and sessions judges negated the claims of the government that safe houses are functional and no proper mechanism was provided despite directions of the court.
The secretary of the social welfare department submitted that issues relating to Darul Aman and Darul Atfal would be personally examined by him. The court said the authorities concerned should comply with the Sindh Orphanage (Supervision &Control) Act 1976 including the constitution of the board. It further said that all the concerned departments shall work on all the laws relating to women in need, missing children, child labour, people with disabilities as well as the safety and security of deserted women and children.
The court also directed the chairman of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to ensure compliance with mandatory provision of Section 20 (e) of the PEMRA Ordinance with regard to broadcasting of mandatory programs in the public interest observing that same will not only make people aware of their rights but also of ways of redressal.