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The higher judiciary in Jharkhand ensures that the government becomes pro-active in setting up an old-age home

By Prabhat Singh in Ranchi

While there are several critics of judicial activism, a court’s interference in the functioning of governments and civic authorities, can also yield positive results. Take the recent case where the construction of an old-age home in Jharkhand was implemented following strictures by the state High Court.

Care of the aged population is a growing concern as more and more families go nuclear and the elderly become marginalized, neglected, and in some cases even homeless. The Jharkhand Senior Citizen Advocates Service Sansthan, through its president CD Singh, recently filed a PIL addressing the issue. The case first came up for hearing on February 10.

The petitioners wanted the state government to formulate rules under Section 30 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act, 2007. They wanted the state government to take steps for setting up “old-age homes” in all districts.

 (L-R) Chief Justice, Jharkhand High Court, Justice Virendra Singh, and Justice Shree Chandrashekhar
(L-R) Chief Justice, Jharkhand High Court, Justice Virendra Singh, and Justice Shree Chandrashekhar

The matter was taken up in the court of Justice Virendra Singh, (Chief Justice, Jharkhand High Court) and Justice Shree Chandrashekhar. The government’s counsel responded that it had already created the legal framework under the “Jharkhand Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizens Rules, 2013”.

Taking up the second demand, the Court directed that the state take immediate steps for identification of land measuring at least about one acre in a residential locality for establishing one “old age home” in Ranchi.  The court directed Manoj Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Ranchi, to identify appropriate land. Kumar informed the Court that the state had identified one acre land for construction of the “old-age home” in Chiroundi village, about 3-4 kms from Ranchi.

Chief Justice Virendra Singh and Justice Shree Chandrashekhar must be credited for addressing the issue. What is remarkable is that the matter was expedited by all stakeholders within five months of the High Court taking up the PIL.

The state government further committed to the Court that it was planning a 50-bed home for the aged (with a provision for 50 more beds), and the cost of the project would be Rs 3.82 crore. The plan for the home was drawn up by PK Singh, executive engineer, building construction department of the Jharkhand government. After obtaining approval from the Planning Empowerment Committee, it was submitted to Chief Minister Raghubar Das for approval.

In its order dated August 3, 2016, the High Court expressed satisfaction at the task accomplished. The foundation stone of the old-age home was laid on August 15, 2016, by centenarian Ved Narayan Gaud, aged 102.

Chief Justice Virendra Singh and Justice Shree Chandrashekhar must be credited for addressing the issue. What is remarkable is that the matter was expedited by all stakeholders within five months of the High Court taking up the PIL.

Lead picture: Jharkhand High Court

 

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