18 Feb 2021 11:01 AM GMT
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday asked the Government about the steps it is taking to ameliorate the peculiar conditions of a village in Jammu, whose 80% population suffers from hearing and speech impairment. A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani directed the Government to file an action taken report along with report of...
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday asked the Government about the steps it is taking to ameliorate the peculiar conditions of a village in Jammu, whose 80% population suffers from hearing and speech impairment.
A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani directed the Government to file an action taken report along with report of the University of Jammu bringing on record the suggestions or the proposals of the government which are intended to be taken so as to get rid of the above impairment from the village.
"None of the report on record however indicates as to what measures the government proposes to take to cure the occurrence of this impairment in the village which is said to be of hereditary genetic nature," the Bench remarked while passing the above direction.
The Bench was also concerned about the social welfare of the affected population and it therefore directed the Government to file an affidavit indicating the proposed/ sanctioned (i) pensionary benefits and (ii) rehabilitation measures.
"The government has sanctioned a pension of ₹1,000/- per month to each of them. Apart from this there is a proposal to set up Vocational Skill Development Courses as rehabilitation measures and for which a sum of ₹3,25,000/- has been sanctioned.
However, we do not know if the said sanctioned amount has actually been released and Vocational Skill Development Courses have been started.
Dy. AG appearing for the State may obtain instructions in this regard and file a fresh affidavit," the order stated.
The peculiar circumstances of the village were brought to the Court's attention by a newspaper report in November 2018 under the caption "Cursed Paralkot village in Poonch has 80% people deaf and dumb".
The report disclosed that 80% population of Paralkot village situated in Poonch District of Jammu is deaf and dumb. It further stated that no medical team had ever visited the area for affording treatment to the affected people or to even conduct a survey or study the reasons for this problem.
The report further stated that no special teachers had ever been deputed in the village to teach the deaf and dumb children.
Noting that the issue is of serious nature in public interest, a Division Bench led by then Chief Justice Gita Mittal had taken suo moto cognizance of the matter.
The Bench had ordered physical inspection of the village and had sought reports of the genetic analysis of the affected individuals and their families.
In October 2019, the Court was informed that the report of genetic analysis is inconclusive and that further evaluation and research is required to be made to identify the genesis of the problem.
The High Court had then made it clear that the genetic evaluation is only one aspect of the matter. It had categorically stated that the Court is also concerned with the rehabilitation measures with regard to persons who were hearing impaired in the village in question.
In this backdrop, the Court had asked the Social Welfare Department, Jammu to come up with schemes for payment of pension to the affected population.
Inter alia, the Court had issued directions for survey in the entire Union Territory of J&K and Ladakh, to ascertain if similar problems occur in other areas also.
Case Title: Court on its own Motion v. State of J&K & Ors.
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