Mandgaluru, Feb 08, 2017: Reports confirm that Judge Latha, Civil Judge (Senior Division) and member-secretary of the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), said on Monday that changing values and break-up in the joint family system had put a strain on taking care of senior citizens.
She was speaking after inaugurating an information workshop on “Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007” organised by the district administration, the Women and Child Welfare Department, DLSA, and the Human Rights Protection Foundation.
Judge Latha said that earlier in the joint family, all family members — right from the youngest to the eldest — were taken care of. But now nuclear families were the norm. A family now mostly consisted of husband, wife and their children. No one was there to take care of the grandparents, she added. The courts were also seeing an increase in the number of cases of property disputes where a family member demanded his/her share of property, she said.
To protect the rights of such parents and senior citizens, the government had brought in the Maintenance and Welfare of Senior Citizens Act 2007. This Act provided for a tribunal under the Assistant Commissioner to solve disputes related to senior citizens, Judge Latha said.
Presiding over the inaugural function, G. Anuradha, Additional Deputy Commissioner, said that the government had introduced many welfare schemes for the senior citizens such as having a geriatric ward in government hospitals and providing identity cards to them.
Nearly 64,000 senior citizens were getting their old age pension in the district. The Women and Child Welfare Department along with the police and other departments should be proactive in resolving the issues related to senior citizens, she said.
After the inaugural function, resource persons, Ravindranath Shanbhag, president, Human Rights Protection Foundation, gave a power point presentation on “Implementation of Senior Citizens Act 2007”, He made observations that the commercialized homes for the aged are increasing rapidly and it is a virtual commercial activity. The care is questionable and thousands of the well-to-do are forced to resort to this alternative. They are exploited to the maximum as we see in other areas too. The department concerned is not equipped to handle the matter - it s very urgent that a separate govt department (Central/State) be set up to sufficiently look into the problems faced by elders, aged and sick at the very earliest.
Niranjan Bhat, District Officer for Empowerment of Senior Citizens, welcomed the gathering. Shilpa Nag, Assistant Commissioner, Prakash Kanive, principal, Vaikunta Baliga College of Law, and Gracy Gonsalves, Joint Director, Women and Child Welfare, were present.