An Indian Air Force (IAF) veteran has taken up the cudgels for thousands of senior citizens who surrender their lifetime savings to property developers specializing in building senior citizen-friendly homes, but suffer in silence due to poor delivery of services and harassment.
S Krishnamoorthy, septuagenarian from T Nagar who had worked in IAF as well as Air India, personally appeared before the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice T S Sivagnanam on Monday, and argued for brining in regulations to monitor and control homes for senior citizens built by private parties.
When regulatory measures could be framed for mattes such as playschools, call taxis, and private schools, why cannot it be done for such homes, he asked. As such, the fact that several senior citizens live in such homes reflects the bad state of social order, he said.
When the government filed a counter-affidavit and discussed the issue of government-run homes and facilities for senior citizens, the first bench said it was not at all satisfied with the counter-affidavit and said: “The sum and substance of the grievance of the petitioner is that there are private players who are establishing accommodation exclusively for the benefit of senior citizens on commercial terms. The question is whether such activity requires regulations and mechanism to ensure that what is promised is implemented, so that when senior citizens who invest their hard-earned money for proper accommodation and facility are not made to run from pillar to post to get what they had been promised.”
In his petition, Krishnamoorthy had said that the number of senior citizens pushed to the situation of living in senior citizen homes had grown drastically, and this had led to the mushrooming of numerous homes which lacked facilities. “Senior citizens mostly live on pension and some live on ration of their children, which is accepted reluctantly. When they join senior citizen homes, the promoters who run these homes lure them with attractive offers. Later, the cost of amenities provided are escalated several times leaving senior citizens no choice but to grudgingly succumb to it,” the PIL said.
The managements running senior citizen homes are not transparent in declaring of administrative and financial matters, and hence senior citizens are left to the mercy of self-centred persons running the homes, Krishnamoorthy said.
When he sought to know the rules and regulations governing such homes, and applied for information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, he got a reply saying there was no record of such regulations available with the authorities. He then filed the PIL.
During arguments, Chief Justice Kaul said there should be some regulations in place, as it was indeed a matter of concern. When assistant solicitor-general S Srinivasan, representing the Centre, said as of now there was no compulsory regulation for senior citizen homes, Chief Justice Kaul said government could make regulations as there should be some checks and balances.
The case was then adjourned to on November 24 for a detailed counter by the authorities, and rejoinder, if any, by the IAF veteran.