BENGALURU: Observing that there is a complete failure on the part of the State Government to comply with its statutory obligation, the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the State Government to file an affidavit stating how it proposes to follow the rules on setting up old age homes in every district to accommodate indigent senior citizens.
The court also directed the State Government to assess the requirement of old age homes in each district and provide these details in the affidavit, which should be filed within a month.A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Suraj Govindaraj said it is mandatory for the State under Section 19(1) of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act to establish and maintain the required number of old age homes at accessible places in a phased manner.
The minimum requirement is at least one old age home in each district which should accommodate 150 senior citizens who are indigent. But the State Government has completely failed to implement provisions of the Act which came into force in the State on April 1, 2008, the court noted.It directed the State Government to take a stand on whether it proposes to frame a scheme to manage these old age homes through voluntary organisations and NGOs, their standards and various types of services to be provided to the senior citizens, including medical care and means of entertainment.
On the affidavit filed by Geetha B Patil, Deputy Director, Department for the Empowerment of the Differently Abled and Senior Citizens, in response to an order passed on January 5, 2021, the court said there is not a single statement in the affidavit on complying with the statutory obligations. It speaks only about the grant-in-aid being given to run 30 old age homes and another 45 old age homes run by NGOs. It also stated that the government is funding two old age homes in Bengaluru Urban district which are not necessarily meant for indigent senior citizens, the court said.The hearing was adjourned to July 6, 2021.