No pension withheld, financial assistance to poor widows continue: Delhi govt tells HC

The Delhi government submitted before the Delhi High Court on Monday that payment has been remitted to over 2.55 lakh beneficiaries of Widow Pension up to the month of June under ‘Delhi Pension to Women in Distress’ scheme.

The Delhi government made the submissions in an affidavit filed before the High Court on a petition claiming that the widow pension of around 12,000 women has been discontinued by the Ministry amid the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.

The affidavit said that no pension has been withheld and added that financial assistance has also been remitted to 393 beneficiaries, poor widows for performing the marriage of their daughters and orphan girls (up to two daughters), up to the month of May 2020.

Advocate Anjum Javed, representing Delhi Government, told the court through the affidavit that the financial parameter for both the schemes has been brought at par from Rs 60,000 to Rs 1,00,000 (applicant’s income from all sources).

“The Council of Ministers has given approval for the enhancement of the income ceiling. The file is under submission for the approval of notification of the Governor,” Javed submitted.

It submitted that the SOP in respect of ‘Delhi Pension to Women in Distress’ has been prepared by the department and are available on the e-district portal and circulated to all district offices. Further, it said that as per the SOPs all the complete applications are being processed within a period of 45 days.

“Procedure for applying online under the scheme Ladli and financial assistance to the poor widows for performing the marriage of their daughters and orphan girls (up to two daughters) is under process and shall be available soon,” the affidavit said.

After looking at the affidavit, a division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan observed that adequate steps have been taken by the Delhi government to provide funds to the widows and disposed of the PIL saying it sees no reason to further monitor this case.

Social activist Harpal Singh Rana, in his petition, had said that according to a response received under the Right to Information Act, the widow pension of around 12,000 women had been discontinued by the Ministry amid the COVID-19 lockdown.

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