The Telangana High Court on Wednesday pulled up authorities of the Social Welfare Department for their negligence in not inspecting old age homes in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation jurisdiction on a regular basis.
The court found out that out of the 130 old age homes, 41 of them were not registered under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007.
The division bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijayasen Reddy directed the department to inform them of the actions taken against both the unregistered old age homes and the officials who failed to inspect these facilities for all these years.
Meanwhile, the special counsel for the state A Sanjeev Kumar told the court that the government had issued notices to these unregistered homes and that they would initiate the closure of the facilities if they did not register them in the next 15 days, The New Indian Express reported.
Sanjeev Kumar, who visited some of the old age homes as directed by the court earlier, said that they are streamlining the functioning of old age homes and are setting up a helpline too as part of it.
The plight of the persons in the old age homes were brought to the notice of the bench by GV Subrahmanyam, member secretary of the state legal service authority. This letter was converted into a Public Interest Litigation by the court. The bench then appointed advocate Vasudha Nagaraj, to study the conditions of the homes, according to The Times of India. After the study, Vasudha reported that the conditions in the old age homes were “horrible” and that the shelters were “cramped.”
Learning about these conditions, the bench asked the government to shift the old persons in a poor facility to other shelters. The court directed the social welfare department to provide masks, sanitizers and ensure physical distancing at the shelters and posted the matter to July 14.