Senior citizens are an important part of our lives, use their experience, says Bombay HC

Mumbai: Observing that senior citizens are an 'important' part of our life, the Bombay High Court recently said that the Maharashtra government should make its policies for effective provision and securing the welfare and well-being of the senior citizens.

The HC has accordingly directed the Union government to file its reply spelling out steps taken for effective implementation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

A bench of Justices Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari and Riyaz Chagla also observed that the conditions of old-age homes across the state are not so good and that the plight and conditions of senior citizens are deplorable.

“If the well-being of the senior citizens is the concern of all concerned, including the state government, then, in the first instance, it must sensitise its staff dealing with the problems and matters of senior citizens,” Justice Dharmadhikari observed.

The bench further noted that there are inadequate old age homes in the state. “The plight of some of the senior citizens is deplorable. On occasions, they find it difficult to reside in nuclear families. The condition of these old age homes is also not good,” Justice Dharmadhikari noted, adding, “Some of them do not have hygienic surrounding and they lack in basic amenities and facilities and some are unaffordable.”

Accordingly, the judges ordered the department of social justice to identify 'functional' old-age homes in the major districts and make them available for the residence of senior citizens who are in 'precarious' condition on account of old age, sickness and disablement.

“We remind the state that its policies should be to make effective provision for securing the welfare and well being of the senior citizens. The senior citizens are an important part of our life,” Justice Dharmadhikari said.

“In our society, senior citizens have a definite role to play. Some of them are well educated, experienced and their talent can be utilised by the state and the citizenry together,” the judge added.

The bench was dealing with a PIL seeking effective implementation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. The bench accordingly, ordered the Maharashtra State Legal Services Authority (MSLSA) to take up the awareness and training programmes throughout the state as expeditiously as possible.

The court has also granted four weeks time to the government to file its affidavit and has adjourned the matter for further hearing on February 20.

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