SC seeks detailed reply on plea for elderly care amid corona

The Supreme Court Monday asked states to file a detailed affidavit within four weeks on a plea seeking directions to provide masks and sanitisers for senior citizens, who are living alone, amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M. R. Shah was informed by former Union Minister and senior advocate Ashwini Kumar that the affidavits filed by states based on August 4 direction of the court lack detail on actions taken to address the issue. Kumar submitted before the bench that except Orissa and Punjab, the affidavits on record lack details.

On August 4, the top court had directed that all pensioners should be regularly paid pension, and states should provide them necessary medicines, masks, sanitisers and other essentials amid the ongoing pandemic.

Kumar had argued that the elderly amid the pandemic need more care and protection. Today, Kumar insisted that priority should be granted to senior citizens who are undergoing treatment at various hospitals. He cited the affidavit filed by Manipur and contended that state governments should file better affidavits with more details on the actions taken so far.

The Supreme Court had directed the Centre and the state governments to ensure timely pension to the elderly, besides ensuring availability of sanitisers, masks and PPE kits to them, wherever required, during the coronavirus pandemic. “We, in this application, which is specially confined to Covid-19 crisis, direct that all old age people who are eligible for pension should be regularly paid pension and those identified as older people should be provided necessary medicines, masks, sanitizers and other essential goods by respective states”, said the bench.

The top court asked the Centre to ensure that all Covid-19 safety precautions are followed and caregivers in old-age homes were well-equipped with masks, PPE kits, and sanitisers. “Further, as and when any individual request is made, the same shall be attended to by the administration with all promptness. The caregivers of those old age homes should be provided personal protection and appropriate sanitization should also be undertaken in the old age homes”, added the bench.