They Can’t Be Permitted To Be Left Unattended In The Twilight Of Their Lives: Uttarakhand HC Issues Directives For Senior Citizens’ Welfare [Read Order]
The State Government should establish/set-up the old age homes at its own level instead of relying upon NGOs or Societies, the Bench observed.
The Uttarakhand High Court has issued a slew of direction for welfare and protection of rights of senior citizens in the state.
A bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Lok Pal Singh issued the following directives while disposing of a PIL filed by the Senior Citizen Welfare Organization seeking directions for protecting the rights of the senior citizens as per the provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of the Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.
- The state government is directed to establish old age home in each district of the State of Uttarakhand within a period of six months. It is made clear that it shall be open to the state government to hire private accommodation, as a temporary measure.
- The state government is directed to make a scheme for management of old age homes within a period of eight weeks.
- The state government is directed to ensure to provide a sufficient number of beds for senior citizens in each government hospital or hospitals funded by the state government.
- The State Government is further directed to ensure that all the senior citizens in the State of Uttarakhand are provided free treatment including blood test, CT scan, MRI and other tests at government hospitals.
- The respondent-state shall upgrade the facilities to be provided in old age homes from time to time, including the strength of the inhabitants.
- The state government is also directed to give due publicity to the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 in print media, electronic media including through Panchayati Raj institutions for the awareness of the enactment as per Section 21 of the Act, 2007.
- The state government shall provide the facilities to the senior citizens as per the Rules.
- The state government shall provide separate accommodation for men and women including sufficient potable water, electric fans, coolers/AC, separate kitchen, dining room, separate bathroom for disabled senior citizens.
- The state government is also directed to provide wheel-chair, television, newspaper and books in old age homes.
- The state government is also directed to provide ramp railing to the senior citizens including telephone service.
- The state government is also directed to provide balanced nutritious food, two sets of clothes for summer and winters, linen, sufficient number of sweepers for maintaining hygiene and cleanliness in old age homes
- The senior citizens, in case of emergency, shall be taken to the nearest hospital for treatment. The cost of conveyance shall be borne by the State Government including the medical expenditure.
- The circle officers of the respective area are directed to maintain vigil in and around the old age homes.
- The state government is directed to protect the life and property of the senior citizens as provided under Rule 20.
Referring to various provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of the Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, the bench said that 11 years have elapsed since it was enacted, but till date enactment has not been implemented fully. “Once the law is enacted, it must be implemented in letter and spirit,” the bench added.
The bench observed: “Every senior citizen has a fundamental right to live with dignity. It is the duty cast upon the State Government to protect the life, liberty and property including dignity and decency of senior citizens. They cannot be permitted to be left unattended in the twilight of their lives. Ours is a welfare and socialist state and it is expected that every senior citizen should live in a dignified manner with the assistance to be provided by the State Government.”
The bench also said the state government should establish/set-up the old age homes at its own level instead of relying upon NGOs or societies. “It cannot be permitted to pass on the responsibilities upon the NGOs for better management of the old age homes. It is also the duty of the State Government to provide beds for all senior citizens in government/government aided hospitals. There is requirement of separate queues for senior citizens. The facility for treatment of degenerated diseases is required to be extended to senior citizens.”Read the Order Here