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Review ancient National Older Persons policy, SC tells ASG Pinki Anand

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the government to have a fresh look at its National Policy on Older Persons (NPOP) as much had happened since it was put in place in 1999.

“The national policy on old age homes is 15 years old. You need to update it. So much has happened since then,” a social justice bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice UU Lalit told Additional Solicitor General Pinki Anand.

Anand was representing the ministry of social justice and empowerment.

The court also said that the NPOP had become redundant after the enactment of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

Even as the government said it had not shied away from discharging its responsibilities towards older people, the court said the reply “does not discloses very much what the government has done for setting up old age homes”.

Pointing out that NPOP was revised from time to time, the government said in response to a PIL by lawyer Sanjeeb Panigrahi: “It is vehemently denied that the ministry of social justice and empowerment has not taken any action for the amelioration of (the condition of) senior citizens.”

It said that under section 19 of the 2007 act, establishment and maintenance of old age homes were the responsibility of state governments.

The petitioner sought establishment of at least one old age home in each district with minimum palliative health care facilities. He also sought a survey of all existing old age homes in the country.

Though the petition made several pleas, the court restricted its scope and issued notice on February 27 only on the issue of having one old age home in each district.

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