Telangana HC | Fundamental Rights of elderly inmates residing at old age homes, being violated both by Managers and State Govt.

Telangana High Court: A Division Bench of Raghvendra Singh Chauhan, CJ and B. Vijaysen Reddy, J. while addressing a matter with regard to old age homes, held that,

“Fundamental Rights of the elderly inmates are being violated, both by the Managers, who are supposed to run the Homes, and certainly by the State Government, who is legally bound to look after the rights of the elderly population.”

Member Secretary, Telangana State Legal Services Authority had submitted a report on the functioning of an Old Age Home.

Taking note of the same along with report of inspection conducted by Member Secretary and Secretary, DLSA with regard to old age homes managed either by the Non Government Organisations (NGOs), or by the Government, Court appointed Counsel Vasudha Nagaraj as an amicus curiae.

Amicus Curiae was directed to inspect the functioning of old age homes in the cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, for which the report has been submitted.

Report: 

Amicus Curiae, Vasudha Nagaraj informed the Court that there is no segregation on the basis of gender. In one of the Homes visited by her, she was horrified to notice that elderly lady, who was bed stricken, was sleeping in the same room, where there were two active elderly men.

Physical safety of the women is a grave concern.

No helpline or Hotline number available for the inmate to be in touch with the outside world.

The inmates are hapless and helpless elderly persons, who have been abandoned by their family, and are being ignored by the State.

Fundamental Rights of the elderly inmates are being violated, both by the Managers, who are supposed to run the Homes, and certainly by the State Government, who is legally bound to register, to maintain, to inspect, to fund, and to look after the rights of the elderly population.

Thus, in view of the above, Court directed Advocate General and Government Pleader to file a report on behalf of the Principal Secretary, Social Welfare Department and Principal Secretary, Women and Child Welfare on the following issues:

  • number of Homes which are registered, or not registered, which are functioning within Hyderabad/Secunderabad/Ranga Reddy District;
  • funding, that is being released by the Government for the maintenance, upkeep, and for providing the basic necessities and infrastructure in these Homes;
  • number of times that these Homes have been inspected by the Officers of the concerned Department.

Immediate requirement to create a helpline or a hotline and the same should be publicised and made known to the inmates of the Old Age Homes.

Respondent 2 is further directed to explore the possibility of seeking the cooperation of the Corporate Sector under the Corporate Social Responsibility so that the Companies can take up and manage, or at lease provide the best infrastructure that can be provided to the elderly inmates, keeping in mind their physical and mental needs.

Respondents 2 and 3 have also been directed to consider the possibility of having the Old Age Homes along with the Orphanage Children Home, Shelter Homes and other Homes.

Respondents are thus directed to inform the Court whether the above stated arrangement can be made in the State or not?

Report to be filed by 23rd June, 2020. Matter to be listed on 24th June, 2020. [Telangana State Legal Service Authority, Hyderabad v. State of Telangana, 2020 SCC OnLine TS 588 , decided on 15-06-2020]

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