The Supreme Court recently directed all the States and Union Territories to furnish information on their existing schemes operating for the welfare of the elderly with respect of (i) Pension for the elderly, (ii) old age homes in each District and (iii) level of geriatric care.
The bench also asked the State and Union Territories to file the present status regarding implementation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act and asked them to furnish the information to the Advocate-on-Record of the Union of India and the Union shall thereafter file a revised status report within one month thereafter.
The apex court bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia was hearing a petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution by former Union Law Minister Dr. Ashwani Kumar regarding the enforcement of the rights of the elderly person.
The Supreme Court had earlier in 2018 passed similar directions while passing a judgment in the matter. The Union of India was directed to obtain necessary information from all the State Governments and the Union Territories about the number of old age homes and medical facilities and geriatric care facilities that are available to senior citizens in each district and file a status report, the Union of India was also directed to prepare a plan of action for giving publicity to the provisions of the MWP Act and making senior citizens aware of the provisions of the said Act and the constitutional and statutory rights of senior citizens.
The Court had also directed that the Government of India to issue appropriate directions to the State Government for effective implementation of the MWP Act and also conduct a review for the purpose of monitoring the progress. The Government of India was also directed to revisit the schemes and overhaul them so that it may be more realistic.
The Court had also observed while passing the judgment and order in 2018 that there is a need to continuously monitor the progress in the implementation of the constitutional mandate to make available to the elderly the right to live with dignity and to provide them with reasonable accommodation, medical facilities and geriatric care and had noted that focussed and more vigorous efforts were needed in the matter. Thus, the matter was kept open by the court.
DR. ASHWANI KUMAR VS UNION OF INDIA AND ORS. MINISTRY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EMPOWERMENT SECRETARY & ORS.