[PIL to shut old age home due to inmates crying out in pain] Most unfortunate that we throw our parents out: Karnataka High Court

"It is the fault of the society, that people are on death bed and they are driven out of their house and placed in old age homes," the Court said.
[PIL to shut old age home due to inmates crying out in pain] Most unfortunate that we throw our parents out: Karnataka High Court
Senior Citizens (Representative Image)

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday lamented at the worrying trend of children ousting their elderly parents on death bed from their homes and placing them in old age homes.

A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka said that it "social issue" which worries the Bench stating that it is most unfortunate that we grow up and throw our parents out.

"It is the fault of the society, that people are on death bed and they are driven out of their house and placed in old age homes. This is a social issue, which we are very worried about," the Court remarked.

"The most unfortunate thing is that we grow up and we throw our parents out. This is happening in society," the Bench which also consisted of Justice Satish Chandra Sharma added.

The Court, therefore, proceeded to direct the State government to place on record details about number of old age homes established by it in Bengaluru urban district.

The Court was hearing a public interest litigation petition filed by one Pavan Kumar and other seeking closure of Nav Chetana Old Age Home and Rehabilitation Centre located in Bengaluru, on the ground that it is posing health hazards to residents in the vicinity.

During the hearing, Advocate Raghu Prasad BS, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that dead bodies are kept in the premises of the said old age home, posing severe health threat. Moreover, due to the pain and suffering of the aged patients, the peace and tranquility of the area is disturbed as the inmates cry out in pain, during the nights.

However, the Court disagreed stating that the society will have to tolerate the disturbances due to old age homes.

"Though one may not like the idea that old age homes are required to be established, it is matter of fact that we need old age homes. Somebody in the old age home is bound to die till his relatives come; the body is bound to be kept at the home, as citizens you have to tolerate," said Justice Oka.

"Even if somebody is staying in an apartment and the neighbour falls ill, there will be some disturbance at night, you have to tolerate all this," he added.

In its order, the Bench noted that if the old age home is ordered to be shut, then it would be a violation of fundamental rights of its inhabitants.

"If an order is made by this court for closure of old age home run by respondent no 5, perhaps it will be violation of fundamental rights of the inhabitants of the old age home under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The issue needs to be sorted out firstly by the state and then, between the respondents and the petitioner."

The Bench, therefore, directed the trustee of the old age home to convene a meeting, requesting the petitioners or their representatives to attend the meeting, so that an effort can be made to find out a solution to grievances made by the petitioners within two weeks.

Further, the State was asked to prescribe a scheme under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 to ensure that minimum standards are maintained, even by private old age homes operating in the city.

"State must place on record details about number of old age homes established by it in Bengaluru urban district in terms of mandate of sub section 1 of Section 19 of the said Act. It will also be appropriate if the state government prescribed a scheme under sub section 2 of section 19, which will ensure that minimum standards are maintained even by private institutions and old age homes. The State government must make its stand clear on the issue of framing scheme as required by sub section 2 of section 19 of the said Act of 2007", said the Court.

The matter will be next heard on January 27.

[Read petition]

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