SC directs adequate care, support for senior citizens

Senior advocate Ashwani Kumar says many elderly persons are battling loneliness and depression

The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it obligatory for the Centre, the States and the local administration to take measures to ensure care and support for senior citizens, especially those living alone or quarantined, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Bench led by Justice Ashok Bhushan ordered that the governments have to respond promptly to the needs of senior citizens and ensure that they do not suffer financially. The States should make essential goods and services easily available to senior citizens who are quarantined or living alone. They should not undergo any hardship due to lack of a support mechanism.

Senior advocate Ashwani Kumar, who moved the court, said many elderly persons were battling loneliness and depression.

The lockdown of the past months and social isolation imposed were telling on senior citizens, leaving many of them in the grip of anxiety, Mr. Kumar, a former Union Law Minister, said

In a series of directions, the court ordered the States to respond promptly as and when senior citizens, especially those living alone, make requests.

It directed that caregivers in old-age homes should wear personal protection equipment (PPE) and follow proper sanitation procedures.

Pension provision

It, importantly, stressed that senior citizens should continue to receive their pension without fail.

Mr. Kumar also asked whether there is any cap on hospital charges available for senior citizens.

The Centre and the States have been asked to file their responses.

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