SC says rights of elderly must be recognised, implemented
New Delhi: Statutory rights of over 10 crore elderly persons in India must be recognised and implemented, the Supreme Court said Thursday, directing the Centre to obtain information from all states and Union Territories about the number of old age homes in each district.
It also suggested a relook at the pension for the elderly so as to make it is more realistic.
Emphasising the social justice aspect, the apex court said that state is obligated to ensure that right to live with dignity, shelter and health of citizens, including the elderly, are not only protected but also enforced.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta directed the Centre to obtain information from all the states about the medical facilities and geriatric care available to senior citizens in each districts.
It said based on the information gathered by the Centre, a plan of action should be prepared for giving publicity to provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 to make the elderly aware about their constitutional and statutory rights.
The court said status reports be filed by the Centre on these issues by January 31.
It said the Centre must exercise its power and issue appropriate directions to the states for effective implementation of the provisions of the 2007 Act and also conduct a review for the purposes of monitoring its progress.
Referring to the ongoing schemes of the government which are meant for elderly, the bench said, "It is high time that the Government of India has a re-look at these schemes and perhaps overhaul them with a view to bring about convergence and avoid multiplicity".
"In particular, the Government of India and the state governments must revisit the grant of pension to the elderly so that it is more realistic. Of course, this would depend upon the availability of finances and the economic capacity of the Government of India and the state governments," the bench said.
It said there is a need to continuously monitor progress in the implementation of rights of the elderly, the only available solution is a "continuing mandamus" (writ issued as a command) to ensure that rights of people are enforced.