January 20, 2010 / 1:34 PM / in 10 years

Nepal court blocks cash incentive for marrying widows

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Nepal’s Supreme Court has blocked a government scheme to give cash incentives to men for marrying widows, a court spokesman said on Wednesday.

The government announced the plan in July last year to pay men the equivalent of $650 for marrying widows, saying it was keen to help widows who face social and cultural barriers in a majority-Hindu society.

But the scheme triggered angry protests from the widows.

The Supreme Court has ordered the government not to implement the scheme, court spokesman Hemanta Rawal said.

“The plan will promote greediness to marry widows and does not support to promote healthy marriage system,” Rawal said.

Women’s rights activists welcomed the court decision.

“You cannot put a price tag on widows,” said Lily Thapa, chief of the Women for Human Rights for Single Women group.

“If the government wants to empower single women, it should bring other schemes for them.”

Hundreds of women protested the government decision in capital Kathmandu and the tourist town of Pokhara last year.

Thapa said the plan would only add to the woes of widows as men would marry for money and later abandon them.

Reporting by Gopal Sharma

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