KARACHI: The Sindh High Court observed that all issues pertaining to women should be dealt by one department with complete autonomy and directed the chief secretary to submit an effective mechanism in this regard after consulting with all stakeholders.
A single bench of the SHC headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar observed that previously directions were issued to the chief secretary that all departments dealing with women issues particularly status of women commission, social welfare, women development must be brought under one umbrella, but the same had not been complied with.
It has come on record that the social welfare department was created by the provincial government to deal with social issues about women and children, whereas women development department was working under the federation, but after the 18th amendment it has also come under the control of the province, it added.
The court order further said that three main Darul Amans were under the control of the social welfare department while the women development was acting separately and since the women development department was specified for women, therefore, the chief secretary of Sindh must call all stakeholders pertaining to women issues and ensure that effective mechanism was submitted with regard to women issues dealt by preferably one department with complete independence.
A representative of the chief secretary assured the bench that compliance will be made in the light of all earlier orders as well present observations and reasonable proposal will be submitted within one month.
The bench said that the social welfare department would be competent to issue show cause notice against shelter homes for children (Darul Atfals) for not responding its notices for registration as well as take action in accordance with law. The bench was hearing a set of petitions about the issues pertaining to women and children and in compliance with earlier court orders, the secretary of social welfare department submitted a compliance report about Darul Atfals.
The SHC also asked all the Orphanages to get them registered immediately under the Orphanage law.
The report said that 10 Darul Atfals have applied for registration while five sweets home under the Batiul Maal had refused on the ground that they were working under the federation.
It further stated that 21 Darul Atfals had not responded to the notices issued by the department for registration.
Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2019