The Supreme Court on Monday directed States & Union Territories to file a detailed affidavit within 4 weeks stipulating measures to ensure that senior citizens who are living alone amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are given proper care.
Senior Advocate Dr. Ashwani Kumar apprised the bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy that 7 states had filed their affidavit's in terms of the direction of top court on August 4 but they lacked detailed.
He said that except the States of Orissa & Punjab, the affidavits on record lacked details.
"The states must clarify their stand. Most states have only attached circulars. Circulars & paper work is not something that is required. What is required is that how that is being implemented," said Kumar.
In light of this, the bench also directed that those states which had filed an affidavit already may also file an additional better affidavit.
Kumar also highlighted 3 press reports stipulating the ground situation. He added that the situation was indeed "pitiable".
At this juncture, Justice Bhushan remarked that individual matters could not be taken under Article 32 and that it was for the state to take care of.
On the last date, the court had recognized the obligation of the Government in taking care and protecting the elderly who live alone, by securing the availability of essential goods and services to them.
To this end, the Court directed the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to make sure that old-age pension continues to be paid on a regular and timely basis.
Furthermore, all States have been directed to provide prompt responses to requests made by senior citizens, especially those living alone during these times of COVID-19. The Court thus acknowledged the need to assure the elderly of effective assistance, as and when such assistance was called for.
Taking further stock of the situation, the Apex Court had also asked the Central Government to ensure that caregivers across old-age homes are provided with necessary precautionary equipment. Justice Bhushan stressed that all caregivers should wear Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits and follow the safety norms regarding sanitization and precautions to be taken against COVID-19.
The Bench was hearing a petition filed by former Union Law Minister and Senior Advocate Ashwani Kumar, which throws light on the concerns of senior citizens living alone and seeks Rights of the Elderly to be safeguarded.
Government policies and legislation intended to secure the rights and dignity of the elderly are not being adequately enforced, Former Union Law Minister and Senior Advocate Dr. Ashwani Kumar submitted before the Supreme Court on Friday.
The plea is related to Dr. Kumar's plea of 2018 seeking a direction to the Centre to increase the monthly pension for senior citizens.
Government policies and legislation intended to secure the rights and dignity of the elderly are not being adequately enforced, Former Union Law Minister and Senior Advocate Dr. Ashwani Kumar had told the Supreme Court in December, 2018.
The instant case is now being taken up from the lens of care for the elderly during the ongoing pandemic.