Madras HC to Tamil Nadu govt: Ensure all old age homes are registered – The Indian Express

Chennai News

The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to ensure that all old age homes and retirement homes in the state are registered with it and maintain records of the inmates and the persons involved in the management of such homes.

It also should ensure that non-registered homes do not continue to function and act on any complaint by any person in this regard, after necessary inspection. To achieve this, it should maintain a grievance cell for senior citizens, while ensuring the strict and effective implementation of a government order (GO) dated November 23, 2016 of the Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme department, a division bench said.

“A society that does not keep up with its duty to protect its elderly, can never be positively transformed by judicial edicts alone,” the bench of Justices R Mahadevan and J Sathya Narayana Prasad observed and sought to safeguard the interests of elderly and senior citizens with the fervent hope that the Indian society will realise its moral duties towards its elders.

The State shall play a proactive role in ensuring the health and self-sufficiency as well as dignity to every senior citizen of this country. Management of such old homes cannot be said to be purely commercial activity with no control or regulation by the State, the bench said in a recent order.

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“It is only appropriate that the substance of the impugned executive order (2016 GO) may be well made part of a legislation either independently or as an addition to the existing legislation on the subject with more clarity in order that no further time is wasted on debating the validity and applicability of the welfare measures to senior citizens and old age homes/retirement homes, etc. on a universal scale,” the bench said.

The bench said that the State government shall take steps to inspect all old age homes in the State and ensure implementation of the spirit of the 2016 GO, which has now been upheld. After inspection, it may issue directives to be complied with and deficiencies, if any, to be rectified by the old age homes/retirement homes in order to comply with the GO and the orders passed herein. It shall take steps to monitor the day-to-day functioning of the homes, with more focus on nutrition, hygiene and medical needs of inmates, such as food, round the clock security, clean drinking water, ambulance services, medical care, amusement, entertainmentand religious activities to suit their needs.

The non-compliance of the directives/non-rectification of the deficiencies as pointed out, must entail civil consequences for the retirement homes/old age homes, including cancellation of registration, the bench said.