The Bombay High Court has castigated the state government for failing to fully implement the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 and rules framed therein. Despite 13 years having passed, the state government has not appointed subject experts on the council.
'At least obey the Parliament'
“Aap court ki baat maante nahi, kam se kam Parliament [statute] ki baat toh suno! (You do not obey the court order; at least obey the Parliament [statute]),” a division bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justice Arif Doctor said on Wednesday.
The court directed the government to give details regarding the state council, district committees/district co-ordination-cum monitoring committees on implementation of the Act. It also asked the state to file an affidavit giving details of steps taken to implement various provisions of the rules.
The direction was given during the hearing in a PIL filed by one Nilofer Armani seeking detailed guidelines for licensing, registration and management of the old age homes across the state.
The judges asked the state on why it hasn’t appointed subject experts on the council since the rules were framed 13 years ago.
PIL seeks effective implementation of 2010 Rules
The PIL also sought effective implementation of 2010 Rules notified by the state Department of Social Justice and Special Assistance for taking care and protection of senior citizens. Its Rules 21 and 22 stated that the state council and district committees would advise the government on effective implementation of the Act and to perform such other functions as the government may notify.
Earlier, in June, the HC had asked the state to file an affidavit detailing steps taken to ensure compliances by the government.
The state claimed that it had taken various steps to constitute state council and district committees for senior citizens.
Judges rap state over lack of regulatory mechanism
The judges, however, remarked that it appears that the state council and district committees are still not functioning. They rapped the state for failing to have a regulatory mechanism under the Act.
State advocate Abhay Patki assured the court that once the state council is formally constituted, the regulatory mechanism will also be in place.
Asking the state to implement the Act, the bench said: “We are not conducting a roving enquiry. The mechanism and what is provided in the Act should be implemented. For 13 years you could not find experts (to be inducted on state council)?”
The court also kept the matter for hearing on January 9.