Supreme Court to examine schemes to protect elderly
The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to dwell on the issue of evolving acceptable solutions and schemes for the protection of rights of the elderly and to establish old age homes in every district of the country.
The Apex Court also sought the assistance of NGO HelpAge India and the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), which provides free legal services to weak and vulnerable sections of society, and sought response of the government on a petition filed by senior Congress leader and former Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, which also sought a hike in budget allocation for the purpose.
While issuing notice to the Ministry of Social, Justice and Empowerment, a Bench, headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, noted that HelpAge India has been playing critical role and “the NGO is required to assist us in evolving an acceptable solution and schemes.”
The Bench issued notice to Member Secretary, NALSA, asking it respond whether it had any scheme for the protection of rights of senior citizens and if so, to place a copy of it before the Apex Court.
It also asked NALSA to spell out feasible steps that can be undertaken for protection of the rights of aged citizens in implementation of the existing laws, schemes and policies.
The Bench told Kumar, a senior advocate and a Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab who has filed the PIL himself, that his concern was appreciable but all state governments cannot be accommodated in the matter at this stage and the scope of his PIL can be seen by issuing notice to the Centre.
Kumar said there were a large number of aged people and their number has been increasing, with most of them living in poverty, without any roof over their heads and proper clothes and food, and the budgetary allocation for their welfare has been paltry.
The former law minister said that there are several central laws and schemes for their welfare, but all these were either not implemented or had become defunct.