The Supreme Court has directed all state governments and Union Territories to bring on record information on existing welfare schemes for the elderly in connection with pension, old age homes in each district, and level of geriatric care.
A bench of Justices Anirudhha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia said: “Heard Dr.Ashwani Kumar in person and also senior advocate(s)/advocate(s) for the other appearing parties. We direct that 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, ought to be produced before us.”
The apex court order came on a plea filed by former Union Law Minister Ashwani Kumar seeking a direction to set up old age homes providing basic healthcare facilities across the country.
The bench added: “Let the respective states and Union Territories furnish the information on their existing schemes on the aforesaid three heads to the advocate-on-record of the Union of India. After collecting information from all the respective states and the Union Territories within a period of two months. A revised status report shall be filed one month thereafter by the Union of India.”
The apex court said the state governments’ report should provide details on the present status in connection with the implementation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act. “The revised report of the States shall also disclose the present status as regards implementation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act,” it said.
Scheduling the matter for further hearing in January next year, the top court said: “Let copies of this order be sent by the Registry to the Chief Secretary of each State and the Union Territories for onward compliance of the directions contained in this order.”
Kumar had sought a direction for the effective implementation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.
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