Jammu & Kashmir

PIL for establishment of old age homes in JK: HC seeks response from Admin

A file photo of JK and Ladakh High Court.

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir People’s Forum has filed a Public Interest Litigation before the High Court of JK and Ladakh seeking directions upon the administration to establish old age homes and daycare centers across JK.

Petitioners also seek the establishment of maintenance of old age tribunals as per the mandate of the senior citizens act.

Represented by advocate Badrul Duja, petitioners argue that it was due to tireless efforts and lobbying by senior citizens that the establishment of a first daycare center, in 2019, was made possible.

The first daycare was established under JK’s own enactment that was pari meteria with central act, applicability of which extended to JK post-2019.

The day-care center was inaugurated at Chanpora , Srinagar, by then Chief Justice of JK High Court in presence of judges from higher and lower judiciary amid huge jubilance of senior citizens.

The attention of the court is sought towards the magnificent utility of the day-care center for senior citizens, before its declaration as a COVID center and its subsequent takeover by hospital authorities.

Senior citizens would celebrate their good days, enjoy different sessions, seminars, meetings, and book reading, and remained under constant medical care in the daycare center which was named Ahat e Waqar (Place of dignity) but the takeover of the center dashed the hopes of the senior citizenry, say petitioners.

It is argued that another place, in Eidghah Srinagar, earmarked for setting up old age houses for deserted senior citizens has also been forcibly taken over by revenue authorities under the instructions of Deputy Commissioner Srinagar.

“The occupation by state machinery of an old age home is a serious disrespect not only to the senior citizens but also to the senior citizen friendly legislation enacted by The Parliament of India in its supreme wisdom,” the petitioners say.

The petitioners also bat for the establishment of senior citizens maintenance tribunals saying it is the statutory obligation of the respondents and cannot be ignored.

These tribunals are functional in all the states and UTs but “unfortunately in Jammu and Kashmir, right from 2007 till date no steps whatsoever have been taken for the establishment of any maintenance tribunal. The establishment of such tribunals would minimise the load of cases in civil and criminal courts, petitioners say.

Furthermore, petitioners contend it was the obligation of respondents to restore the centers for the use of senior citizens, but they have failed to discharge statutory duty despite having been represented many times. Therefore, they want the indulgence of the court to direct authorities to restore old age day-care centers to their original glory.

The matter came up before the Division Bench of JK and Ladakh High Court comprising Justice Ali Mohammad Magray and Justice M A Chowdhary and the court directed respondents to file a response before the next date of hearing.


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