CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the government to inspect all old age homes in the State and also directed the authorities to ensure that all of them are registered with the government.
A division bench of Justice R Mahadevan and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy passed the direction while disposing of a batch of writ petitions, writ appeals and contempt petitions.
The contempt plea was filed by one S Krishna Moorthy who prayed for a direction to take action against officials for not implementing the court order dated November 28, 2016, asking the government to implement a GO dated November 23, 2016, pertaining to several aspects regarding the registration, regular inspection and ensuring facilities for senior citizens who are residing in the old age homes.
When the matter was taken up for hearing, the judges upheld the GO and rejected the writ appeals made by many homes against the 2016 court order. The judges held that the State government should take steps to inspect all old age homes and ensure implementation of the spirit of the impugned GO.
“After inspection, the State government 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 spirit of the GO as well as the orders passed therein. The State government 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, batch services, medical care, amusement and entertainment, religious activities, etc., to suit their needs,” the judges held.
The court also held that the non-compliance of the directives/non-rectification of the deficiencies must entail civil consequences for the retirement homes/old age homes, including cancellation of registration.
The judges also directed the government to seal the homes that are not registered.
“The State government must maintain a grievance cell for senior citizens. It is only appropriate that the substance of the impugned executive order may be a well-made part of 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 added.