Why not enforce rights of old, infirm, SC asks Centre

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New Delhi, April 8 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday took up for hearing a petition on laws to protect the rights of the old, infirm and sick people, and asked the central government why these could not be enforced.

A bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Uday Umesh Lal issued the notice to the government on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by former union minister and Congress leader Ashwani Kumar.

The petitioner told the court that there were six central laws for the protection of the rights of old, infirm and sick people, but none of them was being implemented.

The court said it would first listen to the union government, lay down broad parameters and only then call the states. It asked the NGO Helpage India to act as the amicus curiae in the matter.

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The court also issued a notice to the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), asking if it has any schemes for the protection of the rights of the old, infirm and sick people.

If not, then NALSA would indicate framing of such a scheme, the court said.

NALSA is a statutory body tasked with providing free legal services to eligible candidates and to organise Lok Adalats for speedy resolution of cases.

Seeking that old age homes be set up in every district, Ashwani Kumar told the court that instead of more people, fewer are being covered under the old age schemes.

The petitioner said the budgetary allocations for such schemes too were coming down. He told the court that one could hardly see any footprint of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in this area.

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