The Delhi High Court Thursday directed the Delhi government to ensure strict compliance with the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 which requires children to provide maintenance for their parents, and the government to provide old age homes and ensure medical care for senior citizens.
The high court also directed the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) to ensure that legal aid is provided to the senior citizens, who come under the Act, and that they are not put to any inconvenience.
The law was also enacted to provide financial security, welfare, and protection to senior citizens. “Delhi government is directed to ensure strict compliance of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. DSLSA shall also ensure legal aid is extended to such persons with promptitude and no inconvenience shall be caused to senior citizens,” a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said.
The bench disposed of public interest litigation (PIL), which the court had initiated on its own, based on a letter received by a woman advocate highlighting the state of affairs prevailing concerning the implementation of the Act.
The high court had earlier asked all the district magistrates and sub-divisional magistrates (SDM) here to file status reports on the complaints received by them under the Act and the time within which action was taken.
The Delhi government informed the court that district magistrates were taking action with promptitude in the matter.
The high court had earlier said it had been pointed out in the letter by advocate Neha Rai that the statutory authorities — the district magistrates (DM) and the SDMs were failing in expeditious implementation of the Act and that the appeals and cries of senior citizens have to be attended to on an urgent basis to provide them relief or else their very existence was put in jeopardy.
The court had issued notice to the Delhi government through the Chief Secretary, DSLSA, DMs, and all the SDMs in Delhi.
“We direct the respondents to file their responses to the issues raised by advocate Neha Rai in her letter of May 23, 2022. All the DMs and SDMs shall file their status reports with respect to the individual complaints received by them under the said Act; the time within which the same was actioned by the DMs; the time within which the reports were submitted by the SDMs upon physical inspection and verification of the contents of the complaints received,” the bench had said.
It had further said that the status report should also indicate the number of complaints received on their website/helpline numbers with a complete log, from January 1, 2022, onwards.
The court had said the authorities should also ensure that the helpline numbers were active and functioning.