HC tells UT to publicise Senior Citizens Act

Source: Tribune

Making it clear that an appeal against an order passed under the Senior Citizens Act by Additional District Magistrate-cum-Maintenance Tribunal lies before the District Magistrate-cum-Appellate Tribunal, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the UT Department of Social Welfare, Women and Child Development, to give “necessary wide publicity” to it.

Directing the forwarding of a copy of the order to the UT Social Welfare Department Secretary for Compliance, Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain said the petitioners would not come to the High Court, bear unnecessary expenses on litigation and save their, and the court’s, time along with funds.

The directions came on a petition filed by the son and daughter-in-law of a senior citizen respondent for quashing their eviction order dated July 12, passed by the UT Additional Deputy Commissioner-cum-Maintenance Tribunal.

Counsel appearing on behalf of the UT Administration, on the other hand, submitted that the impugned order was issued by the Additional Deputy Commissioner-cum-Maintenance Tribunal on July 12, while the Chandigarh Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizens (2nd Amendment) Rules were notified on November 29, 2017.

Referring to the rules, the counsel submitted that an appeal against an order passed by the Additional Deputy Commissioner-cum-Maintenance Tribunal was maintainable before the District Magistrate-cum-Appellate Tribunal within 30 days. It was also provided that the Appellate Tribunal would adjudicate such an appeal after giving an opportunity of hearing in accordance with law.

Faced with the situation, the counsel for the petitioner prayed for withdrawal of the petition for challenging the impugned order by filing an appeal in terms of the amended rules. He submitted that the petitioners had to approach the High Court because they were not aware of the availability of a forum for appeal as the notification dated November 29, 2017, had not been given any kind of publicity for the awareness of the people.

He also referred to Chapter V of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, dealing with the protection of life and property of senior citizens. He added that Section 21 provided for wide publicity through the media, including television, radio and the print, at regular intervals.

He added that the state government was mandated to take all measures for ensuring wide publicity of the notification. Taking a note of his submissions, Justice Jain added that the cause shown by the counsel for the petitioners was relevant in the present scenario.

Dismissing the petition as withdrawn, Justice Jain gave the petitioners the liberty to file an appeal before the District Magistrate-cum-Appellate Tribunal against the impugned order.

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