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PIL seeks HC intervention for establishing daycare centres, old-age homes for elderly

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Court asks petitioner to file representation with Social Welfare Department

Srinagar: In a public interest petition (PIL) seeking maintenance and restoration of daycare center for senior citizens, the High Court has asked the petitioner to file a representation before the Principal Secretary, Social Welfare Department (SWD) for redressal of his grievance.

Jammu and Kashmir People’s Forum had earlier filed the PIL seeking directions to the administration to establish old-age homes and daycare centers across J&K. Due to persistent lobbying by senior citizens, a daycare center  for them was ultimately established at Chanapora in the city outskirts in 2019.

Represented by advocate Badrul Duja, the petitioner Forum, said that the daycare centre has stopped functioning and the respondent authorities are doing nothing for its restoration.

He said a representation has already been made to the Principal Secretary SWD in this regard.

After hearing petitioner’s lawyer, the judges including the Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Puneet Gupta disposed of this writ petition without eschewing any express direction to the concerned authorities.

They gave the petitioner the “liberty to file a fresh representation in continuation with his early representation before SWD within two weeks”.

In the event, any such, representation is filed by him the Commissioner Secretary shall call for a report, said the court adding “after due verification of the necessary facts, the respondent shall pass suitable speaking order in accordance with law most expeditiously, preferably within a period of two months from the date of filing the representation.”

The submission of counsel for the petitioner Forum is that the respondents are obliged under law to establish old-age homes in every district and at least the daycare centre for the senior citizens established earlier be made operational.

The petitioner sought the attention of the court towards the utility of the daycare center for senior citizens, before its declaration as a COVID center and its subsequent takeover by the hospital authorities.

“Senior citizens would celebrate their good days, enjoy different sessions, seminars, meetings, and book readings, 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”, said the petitioner.

It further said that another place, in Eidghah Srinagar, was earmarked for setting up an old-age house for the deserted senior citizens, but it has been forcibly taken over by the revenue authorities.

“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 petitioner said.

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