SC Expresses Displeasure At Failure Of States, UTs To File Reply On Pension, Old Age Homes [Read Order]

SC Expresses Displeasure At Failure Of States, UTs To File Reply On Pension, Old Age Homes [Read Order]

While hearing former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar’s PIL on the right to live with dignity of the elderly, the Supreme Court bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta on Tuesday expressed displeasure at the governments of 11 states, including Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Mizoram, and the two Union Territories of Lakshadweep and Daman and Diu for failing to even file counter affidavits and reply to the suggestions of amicus curiae Mathew Cherian, CEO, Helpage India.

The suggestions envisage a uniform universal pension of Rs. 2,000 per month to the elderly; the creation of an adequate number of old age homes in every district with the necessary funding; implementation of schemes, including the National Programme for Healthcare of the Elderly and the Universal Old Age Pension Scheme; and implementation of the National Policy on Older Persons.

Kumar advanced that the apex court may assess the status of the implementation of the measures, not state-wise, but issue wise, the issues being Old Age pensions for the elderly; creation of infrastructural facilities of old age homes and hospitals for the elderly; implementation of programmes and schemes; and implementation of National Policy on Older Persons.

“Like, for example, old age homes-  not a single state has submitted that they have the requisite number of old age homes. In respect of pension, we could present a range of top up pension so that the Court can assess the status of the states. Then there is the issue regarding the delays of as long as 18 months. There could be a cut-off date to tackle the delays,” stated the petitioner-in-person.

“Even the rules under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens’ Act of 2007 were to be notified by the states. But nothing has happened,” submitted Ashwani Kumar.

The bench granted time to the states to file their affidavits, but refrained from imposing the heavy costs as contemplated in the previous order dated January 4.

[Dr Aswani Kumar Pic Courtesy : The Wire]

Read the Order Here