The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday issued notice to Centre and State government on a PIL seeking immediate notification of Central law for the protection of senior citizens as the State law has limited applications in view of the on going national lockdown due to spread of COVID-19
A bench of Justice Sureshwar Thakur and Justice Chander Bhusan Barowalia sought response from both the governments within two weeks.
Shimla based petitioner Ajai Kumar Srivastava, Assistant Professor from Himachal University, has approached the high court saying the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was enacted by the Centre in 2007 but the state of Himachal Pradesh has not yet notified.
Filing through advocates Arjun Lall and Shradha Karol, the petitioner stated that the state has its own enactment- Himachal Pradesh Maintenance of Parents and Dependants Act 2001 which is not only limited in its application but also is repugnant to the Central Act in view of Article 254 of the Indian Constitution.
"The (State) Act of 2001 provides for maintenance of parents, wife and children and for matters connected therewith. The aim behind the enactment of the Act is to provide support to parents, wives and children and compel the individuals to undertake their moral obligation of maintaining them."
"...The provision of Act of 2007 are more comprehensive, beneficial and detailed and provide for far greater relief in comparison with the State Act of 2001. A perusal of both the Acts will prima facie show that the Act of 2007 is much wider in its application and has been enacted for the maintenance and welfare of parents as well as senior citizens, in terms of Constitutional mandate guaranteed by the Constitution of India.
Referring to the Home Ministry advisories and guidelines issued time to time for containment of COVID 19, the petitioner said " the implementation of Central Act of 2007 has assumed further significance in view of the spread of pandemic COVID-19 which has resulted in the state of declaration of lockdown all over India.
The country is facing uncomfortably peculiar circumstances.
A pandemic of this nature which affects the world today has resulted in causing unprecedented devastation, including human, economic, social and political. The measures to which executive administration has had to resort, to somehow contain the fury of the pandemic, are equally unprecedented. The situation of nationwide lockdown, in which we find ourselves today, has never earlier been imposed on the country."
"It is on account of lockdown imposed by the government that senior citizens have been compelled to stay at home. In this duration, many of the senior citizens who are living alone on account of various reasons/factors for e.g their children are residing abroad or are out of town or have no family, do not have any support system and are unable to access facilities like banking medical etc.
They are forced to step out of their houses for purchasing essential items like groceries, milk, medicine and for withdrawing money from banks. In view of their increased vulnerability, there is likelihood of their getting infected with Covid-19 which may prove fatal to them."
Issue an appropriate writ, order and direction in the nature of mandamus declaring the Himachal Pradesh Maintenance of Parents and Dependents act 2001 to be repugnant to the the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 and therefore be declared to be e void in view of article 254 (1) and (2) of the Constitution of India.
In the alternative to issue an appropriate RIT, order and direction in the nature of mandamus holding the Himachal Pradesh Maintenance of Parents and dependents Act 2001 to have been expressly repealed by the the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 being the exhaustive Act covering the entire field.
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