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HC asks government to file affidavit on welfare of aged people

The Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra Government to file with two weeks an affidavit on what steps it had taken for the welfare of aged people as well as appointment of officers under the Maintenance and Welfare of Senior Citizens Act.

The direction was given by a bench of justices V M Kanade and Reveti Mohite-Dere which has taken suo motu (on its own) cognisance of a newspaper report alleging that the state had failed to take care of an aged woman living on a street in a deplorable condition for five years despite owning property worth over Rs 3 crore.

The woman Jaishree Gholkar passed away in a hospital on January 9 after she fell sick, according to a newspaper report which was converted into a PIL by the High Court.

In 2012, the High Court had ordered the state to take care of Gholkar after a petition was filed by her neighbour. Despite that, the state did not take any action for three years, the newspaper had claimed.

Gholkar’s property has been seized after her death and vested in the state government, the court was informed.

The High Court also called for Gholkar’s medical reports from the hospital and asked the state government to file an affidavit stating what steps it had taken to implement the central Act for welfare of senior citizens which came into effect in 2007.

The petitioner had alleged that it took three years for the state to implement the Act as the state had come out with a notification only in 2010.

The court observed today that it was most unfortunate that while a sick woman was lying on the street needing urgent medical attention, two police stations were fighting with each other about which one is responsible to take her to hospital.

The judges said that even the Supreme Court has laid down in its judgements that in cases of accidents, the first thing that the police needs to do is to take the victim to a hospital without considering under whose jurisdiction such a responsibility would fall.

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