Report by Karthi Shankar

This case has already given out some guidelines which was issued on 13.12.2018 by the Supreme Court of India. Further it was brought into attention currently due to the pandemic situation in a concern for old age people who are facing difficulties and not taken adversely taken care of.

Petitioner’s Contention

Dr. Ashwani Kumar is the person (Amicus Curae) who have filed the case in concern of older age citizens of the country that they were not treated well in the Pandemic times especially those who live alone are put into suffering and does not get sanitation materials and other essential goods which are in great demand at this time, this material gets out-of-stock within a limited time due to more demand, which makes it a struggle for the old age people to purchase the requisite materials. It is also been stated from the petition that, the caretakers of old aged people are also mostly untrained or lacks skill and also works without proper equipment when getting in contact with these people. Another important problem which mentioned by the petitioner was that there is a delay in payment of old age people who are really in need of a pension, this is a major drawback for them, as some have no other source of income other than from pension. The point which was discussed in relevance to the current situation was that the elderly people should get priority in government hospitals and the priority should not be given on the basis of their influence, the capacity to pay, etc, they need to be taken care off immediately as soon as possible.

Key Highlights

1. The petitioner has filed WRIT Petition under Article 32 in the Supreme Court regarding the rights of elderly people under Article 21. The rights were the following,

2. Pension for elderly people

3. Shelter for elderly people

4. Geriatric care and medical facilities for old age people

5. Effective implementation of maintenance and welfare of senior citizens.

  • The case has already issued directions but was re-applied to make clear of the ongoing pandemic situation favourably for the older age people and to get them due attention and utmost care.
  • This case is against the Union of India so the respondents comprised of centre and also all the states which has to respond to this Writ petition, as it is related to all the states.
  •  In State of Punjab v. Mohinder Singh Chawla, Nagar Nigam v. AL Faheem Meat Exports (P) Ltd and in Occupational Health and Safety Association v. Union of India the right to health was given the status of a fundamental right flowing from Article 21 of the Constitution.

Respondent’s  Contention

State is responsible for the welfare of it’s citizens irrespective of their age, but it should pay more care to old age people as they have less immune and more prone to deaths than other ageing groups. The elderly people who are alone are the more vulnerable ones as they should suffer and struggle for attention and care. The petition was responded with that each and every individual gets free treatment in a Government Hospital, and also the treatment to COVID-19 is totally free. The only thing which is missing is that the priority in admissions in accordance with their health condition and how far the virus have caused complications in their health. In case of any complaint made by elderly people, the hospital should immediately look after the respective person and should redress their grievances.

Supreme Court added flavours to the guidelines which was already issued in light of the Pandemic times

Based on the directions issued on 13.12.2018 for a Writ petition, SC has delivered some other points on the Re-application of the same Writ in relevance to the COVID-19. The court has asked the government hospitals to prioritise the health of elderly people and not delay them in admissions because they are more vulnerable ones especially to virus of this kind. Immediate actions should be taken against queries and complaints.

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