With both Punjab and Haryana having failed to comply with the law requiring them to establish an old-age home in each district, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Tuesday directed the two states to submit a detailed roadmap within four weeks for setting-up the facilities for senior citizens.
Both Punjab and Haryana have only one each officially-run old-age home while the rest are being run by the non-governmental organisations.
The division bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari and Justice Arun Palli during the hearing of a bunch of Public Interest Litigations on the issue said that it is a “solemn obligation” of the states to establish one old-age home in each district under the law.
The division bench ordered both the governments to file status reports on the matter and also inform the court regarding the scheme for management of such old-age homes. The court further observed that the steps are to be taken expeditiously in this regard.
Section 19 of The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act makes it mandatory for the governments to have at least one such home in each district for accommodating a minimum of 150 senior citizens who are “indigent”. Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was enacted in 2007 for senior citizens who have been neglected or abandoned by their children. The order by the bench was passed following perusal of the reports submitted by the governments. According to the figures provided by Punjab government, there are a total of 40 such centers meant for senior citizens in the state but only one of them is being run by the government in Hoshiarpur. There is no old-age in Mansa district.
Haryana government in its report informed the court that there are 23 old-age homes and only one of them in Rewari district is run by the government while the rest have been established by NGOs who are aided by government of India and other organisations. There are no old- age homes in seven districts, i.e. Fatehabad, Jhajjar, Kaithal, Mahendergarh, Mewat, Panipat and Bhiwani.