Know your Rights.!
Know Your Rights
Know your Right if you Arrested :
A person is arrested when a police officer or a citizen takes him into custody or otherwise substantially deprives him of his freedom of action so that he may be held to answer for a crime or an offence. The police in India do not have any power to detain anybody for questioning unless he is arrested with or without warrant.
Warrant of Arrest:
It is a written order issued by a Court to a police officer to arrest and produce an offender or to search his premises for a particular thing. A police officer who executes the warrant shall notify the substance thereof to the person to be arrested and if he demands, shall show him the warrant. He is expected to bring the required person before the Court without unnecessary delay.
Valid Warrant :
A warrant of arrest should be (i) in writing (ii) signed by the presiding officer of the Court and (iii) should bear the seal of the Court. It should also contain the name of the accused, his address and indicate the offence with which he is charged. If any of these factors is absent, the warrant is not in order and an arrest made in execution of such a warrant is illegal. Warrants are of two kinds:
A bailable warrant is a Court’s order which contains a direction that if the person arrested executes a bail with sufficient sureties for his attendance before the Court, he may be released from custody. In that case it shall further state the number of sureties, the amount of the bond, and the time for attending the Court. (Section 71 Cr.P.C.) In case of a non-bailable warrant the direction for bail will not be endorsed on the warrant.
Arrest without Warrant :
A police officer has power to arrest a person without warrant if he is suspected of having committed a cognizable offence. Normally in non-cognizable offences a police officer cannot arrest a person without a warrant from a Magistrate. In the first Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.) offences have been classified and enumerated as cognizable and non-cognizable. The more serious offences such as murder, rape, robbery, theft, waging war against the State etc. are cognizable.
When can a person be arrested without a warrant?
A person can be arrested without a warrant:
1. If he is concerned in a cognizable offence or if there is a reasonable suspicion, complaint or information that he has committed a cognizable offence;
2. If he possesses implements of house breaking;
3. If he possess stolen property;
4. If he is proclaimed an offender;
5. It he obstructs a police officer on duty’
6. If he escapes from a legal custody;
7. It he is a deserter from the army, navy or air force;
8. Where he is out of India, if he commits an offence punishable under any extradition law or under the Fugitive Offenders Act;
9. If he is released convict who breaks the restrictions imposed by the Court on his movements;
10. If he is suspected of preparing to commit a cognizable offence; 11. If he is habitual criminal;
12. If he, after committing a non-cognizable offence in the presence of a police officer, refuses to give the police his name and address or has given him a false name and address;
13. If he is required by a police officer of another police station who suspects that he has committed a cognizable offence;
How is Arrest made?
Arrest is complete when there is submission to custody by word or action, and in such a case touching or confining of the body of the person arrested is not necessary, but mere surrounding of a person by the police does not amount to arrest. (Section 46).
What happens if you resist arrest?
If you forcibly resist arrest, the police officer can use all means necessary to effect the arrest. (Sec 46). He can even cause your death provided you are charged with an offence punishable with death or me imprisonment. However, he is not justified in using force more than necessary to obtain the arrest (Sec.46). Therefore, unnecessary restraints or causing physical inconveniences tying of hands and feet are not permissible if there is no necessity for doing so.
What are your rights when you are arrested?
If you are arrested:
1. You must be informed of the reasons for your arrest (Fundamental Rights : Article 22 and Sec.50 Cr.P.C.)
2. You have a right to see the warrant if you are arrested under warrant (Sec.75 Cr.P.C.)
3. You have a right to consult a lawyer of your choice. (Fundamental Rights: Article 22 of the Constitution);
4. You must be produced before the nearest Magistrate within 24 hours (Fundamental Rights Article 22 of the Constitution);
5. You must be told whether you are entitled to be released on bail. (Sec.50 Cr.P.C.)
Can you be handcuffed?
According to the latest ruling of the Supreme Court, normally an arrested person should not be handcuffed unless he is violent or he is desperate character or he is likely to attempt to escape or to commit suicide. Arrest is not a punishment. Hence unnecessary restraints are not permissible, if there is no necessity for doing so.
Search of a place entered by a person sought to be arrested Sec.47 of Cr.P.C. compels all persons to afford to the police facilities for search in a place for a person sought to be arrested. Police officers have power to break open any door or window to carry out a search and to liberate himself or any person who is detained inside a premises.
Search of an arrested person :
A Police officer has the right to search a person only after he is arrested. After the search the police officer must keep in safe custody all the articles taken from the person and give him a receipt for the same. A search of an arrested female should be done with strict regard to decency. A woman can be searched only by another women. (Sec.51)
Examination of arrested person by medical practitioner :
A police officer not below the rank of a sub-Inspector may require an arrested person to be medically examined if he feels that this may provide evidence to prove the offence. (Sec.53)
1. He may use reasonably necessary force to have the medical examination performed.
2. The accused person can make a request to the Magistrate that he had not committed the offence.(Sec.54)
3. A woman has a right to demand that she be examined by a woman doctor. (Sec.53 A(2)54)
4. In case of torture in police custody, this provision of law must be taken advantage of and the victim should demand in the Court that he be medically examined to prove torture by the police.
Detention of an arrested person :
Article 22 (2) of the Constitution lays down that every person who is arrested and detained in custody should be produced before the nearest Magistrate within a period of 24 hours of such arrest exclusive of the time necessary for the journey from the place of arrest to the Magistrate’s Court. However, Sec.167 of the Cr.P.C. vests the power in the Magistrate to authorize the detention of the arrested person for more than 24 hours of the investigation cannot be completed within that period. In no circumstances can the accused be detained in custody for a moment more than twenty four hours without a special order of a Magistrate who can order his detention for a term exceeding 15 days on the whole. At the end of the 15 days he must be produced before the Magistrate. If there are adequate grounds for further detention in judicial custody (jail), he can pass an order to that effect, for a period not exceeding 15 days. But the total period of detention cannot exceed 60 days, whether the investigation of offence against him has been completed or not. The order of a Magistrate sanctioning the detention for an indefinite period is illegal. If the accused is not able to furnish bail during the stage of investigation he may be detained in judicial custody beyond 60 days. In case of a non-bailable offence the arrested person may be kept in jail until the trial is over.
Search Warrant :
Search warrant is issued by the Magistrate for the following purposes:
1.For the recovery of a document or thing which may not be produced in the court otherwise;
2.For search of a house suspected to contain stolen property, forged documents, etc;
3.Seizing any publication banned by the government;
4.For discovery of a person wrongfully confined.
A search warrant gives the power to the police officer to search the required place and to seize the objectionable article known as “Mudammal”. Police may use force to effect a legal entry provided that they have come, demanded entry and are unreasonably refused. The police officer executing the warrant may search any person in or about such place if that person is reasonably suspected of concealing on his person any article for which search is made. If the person to be searched is a female, then the search shall be made by another woman with the strictest possible decency.
Procedure to be followed
The officer making a search shall:
1.Call upon two or more respectable residents of the locality (called Panches) to attend and witness the search. Failure to attend is an offence under Sec.187 I.P.C.
2.Make the search in their presence. So, the search would be illegal if the panches: are kept outside while the search takes place inside the building;
3.Make a list of all things seized and of all places in which they are found. (The list is called the panchanama);
4.Get the list signed by the witnesses – Panchas
5.Permit the occupant of the place to attend the search and give him a copy of the list of things signed at his request;
6.Panches are not required to attend the court as witnesses unless specially summoneded by the Court.
Rights of the occupants of the premises searched :
1.The accused himself cannot be compelled to produce any document or property which is likely to involve him in any criminal charge. Hence police have to get a warrant issued by a Court of Law;
2.The police have no general power to enter or search your premises without your consent;
3.The court may specify in the warrant a particular place only to which the search will extend;
5.It is important that the warrant is read and the directions are taken note of before the police are allowed to make inspection;
6.If the police have no legal authority to enter your premises you can refuse the entry;
7.If they have no legal authority to remain, you have a right to insist that they leave;
8.If they refuse you have the legal right to use reasonable force to remove them. (Sec.97, of I.P.C.)
Bail means releasing an arrested person from legal custody until his trial. Bail gives the freedom to seek advice from friends to consult a lawyer, to trace witnesses and to collect evidence for one’s defence and to continue his job. When bail is not granted, the arrested person will be on remand and will be kept in custody to facilitate the investigation and to obtain evidence. Provisions regarding bail can be classified into 2 categories: i.e.,
Bailable Cases :
In the case of bailable offences, granting of bail is a matter of legal right. This means that bail cannot be refused and shall be granted by a police officer in charge of a police station having the accused in his custody. The release may be ordered on the accused executing a bond, even without sureties.
Non-Bailable Cases :
In non-bailable cases, only the Court can order release of the accused person on bail. However, if the police officer or the Magistrate is of the opinion that there is no sufficient material against the accused and that the complaint needs further investigation he may also release the accused on bail.(Sec.437 (2) Cr.P.C.)
Normally bail is not granted when the accused person appears, on reasonably grounds, to be guilty of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for file. But women, children under 16, and sick people can be released on bail by a Magistrate even if charged with offences punishable with death or life-imprisonment. An accused person is entitled to be released on bail as soon as reasonable grounds for guilt cease to appear, between the close of the case and the delivery of judgement. A person released on bail may be taken into custody by an order of the Court, if his conduct subsequent to release is found to be prejudicial to a fair trial Sec.48 Cr.P.C. or if he does not observe the conditions of the bail.
Power of the Court to grant bail :
The discretionary power of the Court to grant bail is judicial power and is given by established principles. Before granting bail the Court must consider the seriousness of the charge, the nature of the evidence, the severity of the punishment prescribed for the offences and in some cases the character, means and the status of the accused.
If you are arrested, how to get released immediately from police custody?
In warrant cases, find out the directions endorsed in the warrant and execute a bond with sureties (Sec.71):
1.If the offence charges is bailable and the arrest is made without warrant, ask the police officer in charge of the police station to grant you bail after executing a bond.
2.The police officer has the discretion to release a person on his executing a bond without sureties. (Sec. 436 of Cr.P.C.)
3.If you are not granted bail immediately you have the right to telephone your advocate, a friend or a relative. Give your advocate the names and addressed of the possible sureties. If you don’t have an advocate inform your friend or relative
4.The name of the Court where you will appear;
5.The time the Court starts; and request him:
6.To take to the Court anyone else who is prepared to stand surety;
7.To contact an advocate if possible.
If you can deal with these matters before you go to the Court, you may be saved an unnecessary remand in custody.
Granting of Bail by the Magistrate :
If a person is arrested for a non-bailable offence, and there exists a reasonable ground to believe the guilt of the person, he may not be granted bail by the police officer. In such cases the accused person must give a written application to the court to grant bail. The court must grant bail unless he is charged with a crime punishable with death or life-imprisonment. In such cases only the sessions or the High Court can grant bail.
Common police objections to bail :
1.The accused will not appear at his trial;
2.He will interfere with witnesses or material evidence;
3.He will commit further offences while on bail;
4.Police enquiries are not complete;
5.Further charges might follow;
6.Stolen properties have not been recovered;
7.The co-accused are absconding;
8.The weapons with which the crime was committed has not been recovered.
Normally the police make an application for the remand of the accused. In such an application they give their reasons for further detention of the accused in custody. The reasons given by the police must be refuted to the extent possible.
Application for Bail :
1.If the accused can afford an advocate he can make an application and represent the accused before the judge;
2.If the accused cannot afford an advocate he may make a written application to the judge. For this he must get an application form from the prison staff and complete it as fully as possible giving sufficient reasons to convince the judge of the need of granting bail.
The following special grounds for release must be mentioned in the application:
1.Condition and state of accommodation; whether there is a possibility of eviction in case bail is not granted;
2.Whether he is likely to lose his job;
3.How refusal of bail would create hardship to the dependent members of the family;
4.How keeping in custody would affect the poor state of health and treatment.
Refusal of Bail by the Magistrate
If bail is refused, the Magistrate must record the reasons for the same. Such a record is necessary to make a proper appeal for bail in higher Courts.
If application for bail is rejected by the Magistrate, the accused person can appeal to a Sessions Court or High Court. Disagreement with the objections raised by the police in granting bail or the fact of no objection raised in the Court must be incorporated in the application for bail. If one’s application is rejected, one may try again in one’s next Court appearance.
Conditions for Bail :
The Magistrate may grant a bail:
1.Without any condition
2.Subject to special conditions;
3.Subject to bond with or without sureties.
Special conditions usually state that the accused person must report to the police station at specified times or surrender his passport. One can challenge in a Court any unreasonable condition imposed by the Magistrate. If the Court refuses to change the conditions, the accused person can reject them. But in that case he will not be released until his appeal is heard and disposed of in his favour.
Bond and Sureties :
1.An accused person may be released on personal bond with or without sureties;
2.Sureties are people who guarantee a sum of money for appearance of the accused in the Court on the appointed day and time.
3.Those who stand as sureties must be present in the Court and if asked must guarantee the Court under oath that they are prepared to act and have sufficient funds;
4.They can file affidavits before the Court stating the fact to show that they have sufficient funds to pay the surety and that they are even otherwise fit to be sureties;
5.The Magistrate has the power to reject the surety without giving any reason. If the sureties are not in the Court, the arrested person will be kept in custody until the police have interviewed them and found them to be satisfactory;
6.Sureties must be over 18, have a permanent address and have sufficient money to cover the amount of surety after payment of all their debts. The sureties may carry to the Court documents such as ration cards, rent receipts, provident fund slips, salary slips and income tax challans.
7.The police and the Magistrate have no right to reject sureties on ground of their personal character, political opinions, criminal records or sex, unless they are professional sureties.
Bail after Conviction :
If an accused person is found guilty, the Magistrate will pass the sentence after considering his past record. If the convicted person wants to appeal against his sentence in a higher court, the Court which passed the sentence must release him on bail.
1.When the sentence is for imprisonment for a term net exceeding 3 years, or;
2.When the offence for which the person is convicted is a bailable one and the person is already on bail. The release will be for a period that will enable the convict to present the appeal and get the orders of the appellate Court. Once a person files an appeal against his conviction, the appellate Court may suspend the sentence and release him on bail or on personal bond.
When a person has reason to believe that he may be arrested for a non-bailable offence, he may apply to the High Court or to the Court of Session for a direction that in the event of such an arrest he may be released on bail. If such a person is arrested without a warrant by a police officer and if he is prepared to give bail, he must be released on bail. In case a warrant is issued against the accused by a Magistrate, it. The purpose of the provision is to relieve a person from disgrace by being detained in jail for some days before he can apply for bail when he is implicated in a false case by a rival.
Recent Observations and Recommendations of the Supreme Court on Bail :
1.The Bail system prevalent in our country is oppresive and discriminatory against the poor, since the poor would not be able to furnish bail on account of their poverty. The court, by ignoring the differential capacity of the rich and the poor to furnish bail and treating them equally, produces inequality between the rich and the poor.
2.The bail system should be thoroughly reformed so that it should be possible for the poor to obtain pre-trail release as easily as the rich without jeopardising the interests of justice.
3.The Court and the police must abandon the antiquated practice of release only against bond with sureties, and if the accused has ties in the community and there is no substantial risk of nonappearance, he may be released on his personal bond without monetary obligation, subject to penalty in case of breach.
4.The amount of bond the Court fixes to release the accused on personal bond should not be based merely on the nature of the charge but on the financial capacity of the accused and the probability of the absconding.
5.When the accused is released on personal bond, the Court or the police should not insist upon inquiring into his solvency as a condition of acceptance of his personal bond.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS AGAINST TRAFFICKING:
A Victim of Trafficking is a Person Who is:- 1.Transported against her/his will.
2.Forced into any form of sexual trade or forced labour or bonded labour.
3.Taken out & away from their home and sexually exploited.
4.Sold for any purpose.
5.Made to travel to an unknown place on false promise of work, marriage, or better livelihood with unknown/known person.
6.Duped, forced, kidnapped, abducted, blackmailed, deceived for any kind of gain.
Person who is a foreigner (eg. Bangladeshi, Nepali Etc.) being exploited, held against her/his will, forced into prostitution, etc.
Person, who is a minor and being transported, traded, sexually exploited and detained against her/his will.
(a) â€œTrafficking in personsâ€ shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of person, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery. servitude or the removal of organsâ€¦
Article 3: Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing The United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime.
Traffic in human beings and begar and other similar forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
Article 23 (1):- Right Against Exploitation. CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
FORMS OF TRAFFICKING
Social and Religious Forms of Prostitution
(Devdasis, Joginis,Muralis etc)
Drug Peddling and Smuggling
OTHER LAWS THAT CAN BE USED FOR PROTECTION OF TRAFFICKED VICTIM
1.The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976.
2.The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
3.The Indian Penal Code â€“ Sections 366A, 366B, 367, 372, 373, 375, 319-338, 351, 354, 362, 339-348, 463-477. Sections 107- 120 can also be applied to trafficking cases.
4.Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000
5.The Information Technology Act, 2000
6.The Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994
7.The Goa Childrenâ€™s Act 20003
8.The Karnataka Devdasi (Prohibition) Act, 1982
9.The Andhra Pradesh Devdasi (Prohibition) Act, 1982
IMMORAL TRAFFICKING PREVENTION ACT, 1956 (ITP Act)
Some Useful Definitions:
â€œChildâ€ is a person who has not completed the age of sixteen years.
â€œProstitutionâ€ means the sexual exploitation or abuse of â€œpersonsâ€ (who are generally known as prostitutes in society) for commercial purposes.
â€œBrothelâ€ – Any house, room, conveyance, or place or any portion of any house, room or place which is used for purposes of sexual exploitation or abuse for the gain of another person or for the mutual gain of two or more prostitutes.
â€œProtective homeâ€ means an institution which can be used to place persons who are in need of care and protection, but does not include
Â• a shelter where â€˜under-trialâ€™ are kept in pursuance of this Act. or
Â• a corrective institution
Trafficking is a Cognizable Offence and is Punishable Offence. It is a punishable offence with 1 Year to life imprisonment and fine
If Crime Against Women If Crime Against Minor
Running or managing a brothel or allowing premises to be used as a brothel or allowing property to be used as a brothel.
1 year to 5 year imprisonment Fine Rs. 2000 While the ITP Act is silent with refernce to minors in this regard, at least the same punishment should apply.
Living on the earnings of prostitution. 2 year imprisonment Fine Rs. 1000 7 year to 10 year Procuring, inducing or taking person for the sake of prostitution. (Buying or selling of human beings.) (Illegal transportation of people across the border) 3 year to 7 year imprisonment Fine Rs. 2000 7 year to 14 year Detaining a person at a place where prostitution is being carried out 7 year to 14 year imprisonment and fine 7 year to 14 year and fine Kidnapping, abduction, inducing, procuring, importing humans for the purpose of illicit sexual intercourse. 3 year to 7 year imprisonment Fine Rs. 2000 (7 year to 14) year Remember: Trafficked victims who are framed as prostitutes and charged with â€œoffence of solicitingâ€ cannot be punished with imprisonment more than 6 month to one year, and cannot be fined more than Rs 500.
WHAT THE POLICE SHOULD DO
During Search, Removal and Rescue
1.If the Special Police Officer or Trafficking Police Officer has reason to believe that an offence under this Act has been committed or is going to be committed, can search that premises even without warrant [sec.15(1)]
2.For verifying and ensuring no discrepancies during the search, police should ensure two or more respectable inhabitants of the concerned area. One member should necessarily be a woman (Sec.-15(2))
3.The Search team should have one or two women (especially women and children) found therein [Sec.15(4)]
4.DO NOT FORGET: Remove all the women detained in the brothel ALONG WITH All the children found therein. (Sec.-15-4)
5.A Police Officer, not below the rank of Sub-Inspector, can conduct rescue with the order of the Magistrate (before passing such an order, the Magistrate must have ground for this) [Sec.16(1)]
AFTER REMOVAL RESCUE
The medical examination should be immediately done for age determination and identification injuries by a Registered Medical Practitioner of all rescued and removed victim. (Registered medical practitioner has the same meaning as in the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956) (Sec.-15-5-A)
The Rescued or removed person should be produced before the appropriate Magistrate. (Sec.-15-5-5)
The Interrogation of victim should be done only by a Woman Police Officer or in the presence of a woman activist from an NGO (Sec.-15-6-A)
Complete care, protection and dignity to the rescued or removed victim should be provided [Sec.17]
The rescued or removed children should be sent to the children homes and produced before the Child Welfare Committee [Sec. 17(3)]
WHAT THE JUDGES CAN ENSURE
Order to rescue a trafficked victim through police who is not less than sub- inspector rank. (Sec.-16-1)
Pass order for SAFE CUSTODY of the rescued or removed person. (Sec.-17-3)
Rescued or removed person can be sent to the protective home. (Sec.-19) Verify the genuineness of parents/guardians/husband through a reputed organisation before handing over the rescued or removed victim to them/him. (Sec.-17-A)
Direct the Probation officer to make a rehabilitation plan. (Sec.-)
WHAT THE STATE SHOULD DO
Appoint Special Police Officers or trafficking officers in each area a who shall not be below the rank of inspector (Sec.-13-1)
Form Advisory committee consisting five social activist including women to advise the Special Police Officer (Sec.-13-4)
Establish licensed protective homes and corrective institutions. (Sec.-21)
Maintain protective homes and corrective institutions with appropriate technically qualified persons, equipments and other facilities. (Sec.-21)
Both central and state governments can establish special courts after consultation with the concerned High court for speedy
Vishal Jeet vs. Union of India (AIR 1990 SC 1412, (1990) 3 SCC 318,)
States and other law enforcing agencies should take appropriate and speedy action to eradicate child prostitution. Governments should set up advisory committees to make suggestions to make rehabilitation programs and steps to rehabilitate the child victims. State should ensure that proper care and protection is provided to the girls and children. State should devise machineries of their own to ensure that the programs are properly implemented. State should set up an advisory committee to look at the customary practices closely. Prerana vs. State of Maharashtra and others. (Citation: 2003 BomCR(Cri), (2003) 2BOMLR562, 2003(2) MhLj105) Children rescued from brothels should be treated as â€œchildren in need of care and protectionâ€ under the Juvenile Justice (Care and protection of children) Act, 2000; No Magistrate can exercise jurisdiction over any person under 18 years of age irrespective of the fact whether that person is a juvenile in conflict with law or a child in need of care and protection. When such a person is found to be under 18 years of age, the magistrate must transfer the case to the Juvenile Justice Board or Child Welfare Committee as required. Any juvenile rescued from a brothel or found soliciting in a public place should only be released after the Probation Officer has completed an inquiry. No advocate can on its own appear before the Child Welfare Committee on behalf of a juvenile after being rescued under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 or found soliciting in a public place. Only the parents/guardian of such juvenile should be permitted to make representations before the Child Welfare Committee through themselves or through an advocate. The said juvenile should be released only to care and custody of a parent/guardian after they have been found fit by the Child Welfare Committee for the same. If the parent/guardian is found unfit to have the care and custody of the rescued juvenile, the procedure laid down under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 should be followed for the rehabilitation of the rescued child.
A lawyer representing the accused should not represent the victims.
ELDERLY PEOPLE RIGHT:-
â€œOld Ageâ€ is usually associated with declining faculties, both mental and physical, and a reduction in social commitments (including sport participation) of any person. The precise onset of old age varies culturally and historically. It is a social construct, rather than a biological stage. The persons in India, who have attained the age of sixty years and above, are defined as elderly for the purpose of availing old age benefits.
ELDERLY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
As per 2001 Census, total population of Senior Citizens (60+) was 7.7 crore, of which population of males and females was 3.8 crore and 3.9 crore respectively. The share of people aged 60 years and above in the total population. Population of senior citizens in Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Puducherry is more than the national average (7.5%). In rural areas, the percentage share of elderly population in total population is highest in the State of Kerala while Andaman & Nicobar Islands has the lowest share. In urban areas, the percentage share of elderly population in total population is highest in the state of Kerala while Arunachal Pradesh has the lowest share.
In Constitution of India, entry 24 in list III of schedule VII deals with the Welfare of Labour, including conditions of work, provident funds, liability for workmenâ€™s compensation, invalidity and Old age pension and maternity benefits. Further, Item No. 9 of the State List and item 20, 23 and 24 of Concurrent List relates to old age pension, social security and social insurance, and economic and social planning. Article 41 of Directive Principles of State Policy has particular relevance to Old Age Social Security. According to this Article, â€œthe State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in case of undeserved want.
The right of parents, without any means, to be supported by their children having sufficient means has been recognised by section 125 (1) (d) of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, and Section 20(1&3) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.
The moral duty to maintain parents is recognized by all people. However, so far as law is concerned, the position and extent of such liability varies from community to community.
The statutory provision for maintenance of parents under Hindu personal law is contained in Section 20 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956. This Act is the first personal law statute in India, which imposes an obligation on the children to maintain their parents. As is evident from the wording of the section, the obligation to maintain parents is not confined to sons only; the daughters also have an equal duty towards parents. It is important to note that only those parents who are financially unable to maintain themselves from any source, are entitled to seek maintenance under this Act.
Under the Muslim law also children have a duty to maintain their aged parents. According to Mulla (Muslim title applied to a scholar or religious leader):
(i) Children in easy circumstances are bound to maintain their poor parents, although the latter may be able to earn something for themselves.
(ii) A son in stressed circumstances is bound to maintain his mother, if the mother is poor, though she may not be infirm.
(iii) A son, although poor, is earning something, is bound to support his father who earns nothing. According to the Muslim law, both sons and daughters have a duty to maintain their parents under the Muslim law. The obligation, however, is dependent on their having the means to do so.
Christian and Parsi Law:-
The Christians and Parsis have no personal laws providing for maintenance for the parents. Parents who wish to seek maintenance have to apply under provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C):
The Cr.P.C 1973 is a secular law and governs persons belonging to all religions and communities. Daughters, including married daughters, also have a duty to maintain their parents. The provision for maintenance of parents under the code was introduced for the first time in Section 125(1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure in 1973. As per the code if any person having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain his father or mother, unable to maintain himself or herself, a Magistrate of the first class may, upon proof of such neglect or refusal, order such person to make a monthly allowance for the maintenance of his father or mother, at a monthly rate as the magistrate thinks fit, and to pay the same to such person as the Magistrate may from time to time direct.
Government Policies and Schemes for Older Persons
Over the years, the government has launched various schemes and policies for older persons. These schemes and policies are meant to promote the health, well-being and independence of senior citizens around the country. Some of these programmes have been enumerated below:
National Policy for Older Persons
The central government came out with the National Policy for Older Persons in 1999 to promote the health, safety, social security and well being of senior citizens in India. The Policy recognizes a person aged 60 years and above as a senior citizen. This policy strives to encourage families to take care of their older family members. It also enables and supports voluntary and non-governmental organizations to supplement the care provided by the family and provide care and protection to vulnerable elderly people.
The policy has identified a number of areas of intervention financial security, healthcare and nutrition, shelter, education, welfare, protection of life and properly etc. for the well being of older persons in the country. The main objective of this policy is to make older people fully independent citizens.
This policy has resulted in the launch of new schemes such as:-
1. Strengthening of primary health care system to enable it to meet the health care needs of older persons
2. Training and orientation to medical and paramedical personnel in health care of the elderly.
3. Promotion of the concept of healthy ageing.
4. Assistance to societies for production and distribution of material on geriatric care.
5. Provision of separate queues and reservation of beds for elderly patients in hospitals.
6. Extended coverage under the Antyodaya Scheme with emphasis on provision of food at subsidized rates for the benefit of older persons especially the destitute and marginalized sections.
National Council for Older Persons:-
A National Council for Older Persons (NCOP) has been constituted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to operationalize the National Policy on Older Persons. The basic objectives of the NCOP are to: Advise the Government on policies and programmes for olderpersons, Provide feedback to the Government on the implementationof the National Policy on Older Persons as well as on specific programme initiatives for older Persons advocate the best interests of older persons, Provide a nodal point at the national level for redressing the grievances of Older persons which are of an individual nature provide lobby for concessions, rebates and discounts for older persons both With the Government as well as with the corporate sector Represent the collective opinion of older persons to the Government Suggest steps to make old age productive and interesting Suggest measures to enhance the quality of inter-generational relationships. Undertake any other work or activity in the best interest of older persons.
Integrated Programme for Older Persons:-
Implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment this scheme provides financial assistance up to 90 per cent of the project cost to non-governmental organizations or NGOs as on March 31, 2007. This money is used to establish and maintain old age homes, day care centres, mobile medicare units and to provide non-institutional services to older persons.
The Scheme of Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP) is being implemented since 1992. Under the Scheme financial assistance up to 90% of the project cost is provided to Non-Governmental Organizations for running and maintenance of old age homes, day care centres and mobile medicare units. The Scheme has been revised w.e.f. 1.4.2008. Besides an increase in amount of financial assistance for existing projects, Governments/ Panchayati Raj Institutions/ Local Bodies have been made eligible for getting financial assistance. Several innovative projects have also been added as being eligible for assistance under the
Scheme. Some of these are:-
1.Maintenance of Respite and Continuous Care Homes;
2.Day Care Centres for Alzheimerâ€™s Disease/ Dementia Patients,
3.Physiotherapy Clinics for older persons.
4.Help-lines and Counseling Centres for older persons.
5.Sensitizing programmes for children particularly in Schools and Colleges;
6.Regional Resource and Training Centres
7.Training of Caregivers to the Older Persons;
8.Awareness Generation Programmes for Older Persons and Caregivers;
9.Formation of Senior Citizens Associations etc.
The eligibility criteria for beneficiaries of some important activities/ projects supported under the Scheme are:
1.Old Age Homes – for destitute older persons
2.Mobile Medicare Units – for older persons living in slums, rural and inaccessible areas where proper health facilities are not available
3.Respite Care Homes and Continuous Care Homes – for older persons seriously ill requiring continuous nursing care and respite
PRESENT CONCESSIONS AND FACILITIES AVAILABLE
d. The Ministry of Railways provides the following facilities to senior citizens:
1.Separate ticket counters for senior citizens at various (Passenger Reservation System) PRS centres if the average demand per shift is more than 120 tickets;
2.Provision of lower berth to male passengers of 60 years and above and female passengers of 45 years and above.
3.40% and 50% concession in rail fare for male passengers aged 60 years and above and female passengers aged 58 years and above respectively.
4.Wheel chairs at stations for old age passengers.
Ministry of Health & Family Welfare
Central Government Health Scheme provides pensioners of central government offices the facility to obtain medicines for chronic ailments up to three months at a stretch. More details on Central Government Health Scheme.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare provides for
(i) separate queues for older persons in government hospitals and
(ii) geriatric clinic in several government hospitals.
The Ministry has taken a new initiative called the National Programme for the Health Care for the Elderly (NPHCE) in the Eleventh Five Year Plan. The programme has been implemented from the year 2010-11 with an approved outlay of ` 288 crore for the remaining period of the 11th Five Year Plan (i.e for 2010-11 and 2011-12). The objectives of the programme are to:
1.Provide preventive, curative and rehabilitative services to the elderly persons at various level of health care delivery system of the country
2.Strengthen referral system
3.Develop specialized man power and
4.Promote research in the field of diseases related to old age.
The basic strategies of the programme are to:
1.Strengthening of 8 Regional Geriatric Centres
2.Dedicated facilities at district hospital including 10 bedded wards
3.Dedicated services at PHC/ CHC level
4.Primary health care approach. The major components of the programme are:
5.To establish geriatric department in all the existing 8 Regional Geriatrics Centres
6.Strengthening healthcare facilities for elderly at various levels of 100 identified districts in 21 States of the country.
7.Regional Institutions to provide technical support to geriatric units at district hospitals whereas district hospitals will supervise and coordinate the activities down below at CHC, PHC and sub-centres. Physical targets set for achievement till March 2012
8.Establishment of Geriatric Department at the 8 Regional Geriatric Centres
9.To cover 30 districts in 2010-11 and another 70 districts in 2011-12 from 21 identified States:
a.Establishment of Geriatric Units at the district hospitals
b.Establishment of Rehabilitation Units at CHCs
c.Establishment of Weekly Geriatric Clinic at PHCs
Initiative taken and progress in 2010-11
1.Programme initiated in 30 districts of 21 identified States.
2.` 32.61 crore has been released to 19 States (covering 27 districts). Fund sanctioned for 3 districts of Jharkhand (Bokaro) and Uttar Pradesh (Raibareilly and Sultanpur) could not be released due to non-receipt of Bank Account details.
3.` 8.59 crore have also been released to 4 Regional Geriatric Centres (S N Medical College, Jodhpur; Banaras Hindu University, UP; Guwahati Medical College, Assam; and Trivandrum Medical College. Initiative taken and progress in 2011-12
4. Programme to be initiated in another 70 districts of 21 identified States.
5.Funds have been released to 7 States (Bihar, HP, Karnataka, Kerala, Sikkim, Punjab and Rajasthan) to take up 21 new districts.
6.Funds for Haryana and Chhattisgarh are being released.
7.Funds have also been released to 2 Regional Geriatric Centres (Madras Medical College and Grants Medical College, Mumbai).
Fund is being released to Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medicaln Sciences, J&K.
8.Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) Cells at the Centre, State and District will implement and monitor the NPHCE. The National NCD Cell has been established at the Centre.
9. The National Mental Health Programme focuses on the needs of senior citizens who are affected with Alzheimerâ€™s and other old age problems like dementia, Parkinsonâ€™s disease, depression and psycho geriatric disorders.
10.Tax Exemption on Interest: Senior citizens enjoy additional benefits in terms of saving schemes and interest earned on them. Interest is levied on the amount of money deposited for a particular time period. The rate of interest varies for different durations and is liable to change from year to year. Most banks provide a higher rate of interest to senior citizens than the rate available to the general public. The Reserve Bank of India has permitted higher rates of interest on saving schemes of senior citizens. Other than higher interest rates on deposits, senior citizens also enjoy exemptions on penalty rates for premature withdrawal of term deposits. Fixed deposits are sometimes withdrawn to tide over emergencies like sudden medical expenses and hospitalization. In this case, senior citizens are either exempted completely or charged a meagre percentage rate of their deposits.
A Senior Citizens Savings Scheme has been introduced by the Government through Post Offices in India which offers higher rate of interest on the deposits made by the senior citizen in post offices.
Ministry of Finance
The Ministry provides the following facilities for senior citizens:
1.Income tax exemption for Senior Citizens of 60 years and above up to ` 2.50 lakh per annum.
2.Income tax exemption for Senior Citizens of 80 years and above up to ` 5.0 lakh per annum.
3.Deduction of ` 20,000 under Section 80D is allowed to an individual who pays medical insurance premium for his/ her parent or parents, who is a senior citizen.
4.An individual is eligible for a deduction of the amount spent or 60,000, whichever is less for medical treatment of a dependent senior citizen.
Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA)
IRDA vide letter dated 25.5.2009 issued instructions on health insurance for senior citizens to CEOs of all General Health Insurance Companies which inter-alia includes:
1.Allowing entry into health insurance scheme till 65 years of age,
2.Transparency in the premium charged
3.Reasons to be recorded for denial of any proposals etc. on all health insurance products catering to the needs of senior citizens. Likewise the insurance companies cannot deny renewability without specific reasons.
Department of Pensions
The Department has set up a Pension Portal to enable senior citizens to get information regarding the status of their application, the amount of pension, documents required, if any, etc. The Portal also provides for lodging of grievances. As per recommendation of the Sixth Pay Commission, additional pension will be provided as per details given below to older persons:
Age 80+ Pension 20%
Age 85+ Pension 30%
Age 90+ Pension 40%
Age 95+ Pension 50%
Age 100+ Pension 100%
Ministry of Civil Aviation
The National Carrier, Air India, under the Ministry of Civil Aviation provides air fare concession up to 50% for male passenger aged 65 years and above and female passenger aged 63 years and above on the date of commencement of journey and on production of proof of age (Photo- ID) and nationality.
Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has taken initiatives for providing reservation of two seats for senior citizens in front row of the buses of the State Road Transport Undertakings. Some State Governments are giving fare concession to senior citizens in the State Road Transport Undertaking buses and are introducing Bus Models, which are convenient to the elderly.
National Old Age Pension (NOAP) Scheme
Under National Old Age Pension Scheme, in 1994 Central Assistance was available on fulfillment of the following criteria:-
1.The age of the applicant (male or female) should be 65 years or more.
2.The applicant must be a destitute in the sense that he/she has no regular means of subsistence from his/her own source of income or through financial support from family members or other sources.
The amount of old age pension varies in the different States as per their share to this scheme. This scheme is implemented in the State and Union Territories through Panchayats and Municipalities. Both Panchayats and Municipalities are encouraged to involve voluntary agencies as much as possible in benefiting the destitute elderly for whom this scheme is intended.
The Ministry is now administering the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) under which Central assistance is given towards pension @ ` 200/- per month to persons above 65 years belonging to a household below poverty line, which is meant to be supplemented by at least an equal contribution by the States so that each beneficiary gets at least ` 400/- per month as pension.
As on 31.3.2011, the number of beneficiaries receiving central assistance was 171 lakh.
The Ministry has lowered the age limit from the existing 65 years to 60 years and the pension amount for senior citizens of 80 years and above has also been enhanced from ` 200/- to ` 500/- per month with effect from 1.4.2011. It is estimated that there are about 72.29 lakh additional persons living below the poverty line, who would become eligible to receive central assistance under IGNOAPS in the age group of 60-64 years and there are 26.33 lakh persons above the age of 80 years living below the poverty line, who would become eligible to receive enhanced central assistance @ 500 per month. The number of beneficiaries is expected to increase from 171 lakh to 243 lakh.
The decision of the Government of India regarding lowering the age limit from 65 to 60 years along with the revised guidelines have been issued to all States/ UTs vide letter no.J-11015/1/2011-NSAP dated 30th June 2011.
Action Plan 2000-2005 for Senior Citizens
The Action Plan 2000-2005 drawn up by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJ&E) in consultation with the National Council for Older persons (NCOP) requires various Ministries to take action along the lines envisaged in it. The implementation of Action Plan with clear job responsibilities, practical ideas & time-frame for execution for the Ministries is required to be monitored by the NCOP & the Inter Ministerial Committee set up by the MSJ&E. Some of the Ministries have already initiated action on devising facilities & welfare schemes for the senior citizens, which have been listed as follows:
Ministry of Social Justice Empowerment
1.Old Age Homes
2.Day Care Centres
3. Mobile Medicare Units through Grant in Aid to NGOs/ Voluntary Organizations
Ministry of Finance
1.Higher Rate of Interest 2.Personal Loan Scheme for Persioners 3.Ashrya Deposit Plan 4.Higher Returns 5.Income Tax concession 6.Varistha Pension Bima Yojana 7.New Jeevan Akshay
Ministry of Civil Aviation
1.50% Discount in Air Travel (subject to certain conditions)
Ministry of Railways
30% Discount in Rail Travel
Ministry of Road Transport Highway
1.Road Travel concession in State Transport Buses
Ministry of Law &Justice
1.Free Legal Aid
4.Legal Aid Help-Line
5.Speedier Disposal of Cases
6.Maintenance of Older Parents
Ministry of Rural Development
1.Schemes Transferred to States (2002-03)
2.State Pension Scheme
3.Annapurna Scheme that is being implemented by the States/UT Administration, provides 10 kgs. of food grains per beneficiary per month free of cost to those senior citizens who remain uncovered under the old age pension scheme.
Ministry of Consumer Affairs
Antyodaya Programme which Food & Public Distribution provides the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families with food grains at the rate of 35 Kgs per family per month. The food grains are issued @3/- per kg. for rice and @2/- per kg. for wheat. The persons aged above 60 years from the BPL category were given priority for identification.
Ministry of Health
1.Sunday Clinic in Delhi
j. The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act, 2007
The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 was enacted in December 2007, to ensure need based maintenance for parents and senior citizens and their welfare. The Act provides for:-
1.Maintenance of Parents/ senior citizens by children/ relatives made obligatory and justiciable through Tribunals
2.Revocation of transfer of property by senior citizens in case of negligence by relatives
3.Penal provision for abandonment of senior citizens
4.Establishment of Old Age Homes for Indigent Senior Citizens
5.Adequate medical facilities and security for Senior Citizens The Act has to be brought into force by individual State Governments. As on 31.3.2011, the Act had been notified by 22 States and all UTs. The Act is not applicable to the State of Jammu & Kashmir, while Himachal Pradesh has its own Act for Senior Citizens. The remaining States yet to notify the Act are â€“ Bihar, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh. States/ UTs which have notified the Act are required to take the following measures/steps for effective implementation of the Act:
6.Frame Rules under the Act;
7.Appoint Maintenance Officers;
8.Constitute Maintenance and Appellate Tribunals.
The Act was enacted on 31s1 December 2007. It accords prime responsibility for the maintenance of parents on their children, grand children or even relatives who may possibly inherit the property of a Senior Citizen. It also calls upon the State to provide facilities for poor and destitute older persons.
Provisions of the Act
1.Parents who are unable to maintain themselves through their own earnings or out of their own property may apply for maintenancefrom their adult children. This maintenance includes the provision of proper food, shelter, clothing and medical treatment.
2.Parents include biological, adoptive and step mothers and fathers, whether senior citizens or not.
3.A childless Senior Citizen who is sixty years and above, can also claim maintenance from relatives who are in possession of or are likely to inherit their property.
4.This application for maintenance may be made by Senior Citizens themselves or they may authorize a person or voluntary organization to do so. The Tribunal may also take action on its own.
5.Tribunals on receiving these applications may hold an enquiry or order the children/relatives to pay an interim monthly allowance for the maintenance of their Parents or Senior Citizen.
6.If the Tribunal is satisfied that children or relatives have neglected or refused to take care of their parents or Senior Citizen, it shall order them to provide a monthly maintenance amount, up to a maximum of ` 10,000 per month.
7.The State Government is required to set up one or more tribunals in every sub-division. It shall also set up Appellate Tribunals in every district to hear the appeals of Senior Citizens against the decision of the Tribunals.
8.No legal practitioner is required or permitted for this process.
9.Erring persons are punishable with imprisonment up to three months or a fine of up to rupees five thousand or with both.
10.State Governments should set up at least one Old Age Home for every 150 beneficiaries in a district. These homes are to provide Senior Citizens with minimum facilities such as food, clothing and recreational activities.
11.All Government hospitals or those funded by the Government must provide beds for Senior Citizens as far as possible. Also, special queues to access medical facilities should be arranged for them.
Rights of Older Persons: International Scenario
Beginning with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, going on to the many International Instruments – including the Covenants on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, on Civil and Political Rights as well as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) – there are many references to the Rights of all. The Declaration on Social Progress and Development in 1969, for the first time specifically mentions old age in Article 11.
The UN adopted the 1st International Plan of Action on Ageing in Vienna in 1982, and it took until 1991 for the General Assembly to adopt the UN Principles for Older Persons (Resolution 46/91) and its 4 main themes independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment and dignity.
The Committee on Economic, Social and Culture Rights adopted the General comment no 6 on the Economic and Social, and Cultural Rights of Older Persons (Document E/l996/22, Annex IV) in the year 1995.
In 1999, with the International Year of Older Persons (Document A/ 50/114), came the Conceptual Framework based on the Plan and Principles with 4 priority areas: (a) The situation of older persons, (b) individual lifelong development, (c) the relationship between generations, (d) the interrelationship of population, ageing and development. Finally, in Madrid in 2002, 20 years after, the 2nd World Assembly on Ageing (WAA) adopted unanimously a Political Declaration and an International Strategic Plan of Action on Ageing.
Both the documents include clear objectives and related actions to be taken: (i) to ensure the Rights of older persons, (ii) to protect older persons from â€œneglect, abuse and violenceâ€ in all situations addressed by the UN as well as (iii) to recognize â€œtheir role and contribution to societyâ€.
The 2002 Madrid Plan of Action goes into great details on the situation of older persons and the Commission for Social Development was given the charge of implementation.
However, it is obvious that these precedents are not enough to give older persons their Rights as well as recognition of their contribution to society. Older persons are not only unrecognized but more and more excluded from their role in society, just to cite a few examples:
1.Migration of younger generations from developing countries or countries in transition with little or no welfare leaves behind older persons with no social, economic and care support, thus increasing their vulnerability, isolation, poverty, discrimination and lack of health care;
2.The galloping technological development increases the generation divide: in a 4 to 5 generation society, the 2-3 older generations are too often excluded and affected by the digital divide;
3.In HIV/AIDS pandemic, the contribution of older generations is today vital, their right to care for their orphaned grand-children could only benefit the socio-economic development but also the human reconstruction of society through restoring an identity, transmitting higher values and life skills;
In all issues, the Right to Development takes into account the generation-specificities of development over the life span and until the end of life.
To generate public attention concerning mainstreaming of older persons, the theme chosen for the International Day of Older Persons in 2003 was â€˜Mainstreaming ageing: forging links between the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and the Millennium Development Goalsâ€™. Various UN programmes, specialized agencies as well as NGOs have made efforts to mainstream the concerns of older persons into their respective agendas.
On the level of operative action, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) strives to mainstream ageing into its areas of work, namely reproductive health, gender issues and humanitarian responses to conflict situations. WHOâ€™s major mainstreaming objective is to focus on principles and methods of developing health care systems that are responsive to ageing. The 2004 report of the Secretary-General to the General Assembly recommends â€œto assign full-time focal points on ageing and provide them with adequate resources to further implementation, particularly through appropriate mainstreaming action.â€
Initiatives by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
Ministry of Social Justice had constituted the National Council for Older Persons (NCOP) on 11-1-1999 in which a representative from NHRC was included as a member. In its meeting held on 8th March, 2002, the Commission noted the details of the implementation of the Old Age Pension Scheme by the Central and State Governments and appointed Shri K. B. Saxena, IAS (Retd.), Former Advisor, Planning Commission for an in-depth study and recommendations.
Shri K. B. Saxena submitted a Report with Suggested Interventions on â€œNational Old Age Pension Scheme: Issues of Policy and Governanceâ€. The Report was published by NHRC in October 2007. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment reconstituted them National Council for Older Persons (NCOP) on 1st August 2005 under the Chairmanship of Ministry for Social Justice & Empowerment. The Secretary General, NHRC is a member of the NCOP. The Council, presently, has 15 official Members and 33 non-official members. The Commission had organized â€œHealth Weekâ€ Awareness
Lecture on following topics were delivered by the subject specialists in the field, which were very much informative with regard to the health of older persons:
1.Cardio-vascular Disease: How to Prevent Heart Attacks and Strokes
2.Diabetes in the Elderly – Myths and Reality
3.Vision Problems in the Elderly
4.Arthritis and Bone Management
5.Disease of the Prostate Gland
6.Specific Health Concerns of Older Women
8.Nutrition for the Elderly,
The action plan envisages following role for the Commission:-
1.Reviewing activities and performance of the institutions like old age home etc., through the Special Rapporteurs of the Commission;
2.Undertaking measures for publicity, awareness, familiarization, and sensitization of the public as well as Central and State Government Officers towards the older persons.
3.Promoting action research on issues relating to elderly. In Nov. 2010, the Commission has constituted a core Group on health, safety, and welfare of the elderly people under the chairmanship of Member-in-charge of the subject. The Core Group has been mandated to collect and compile data base on the magnitude of the problem and challenges faced by the elderly, review the activities of various Ministries/ Departments and give suggestions for qualitative improvement and change in the policies and programmes relating to senior citizens.
Issues and Challenges in Supporting the Older Poor in India
1.The institution and functioning of the family as a support structure for older people is under severe pressure because of poverty, unemployment and changing attitudes and as such external support is needed to strengthen the family and provide supplementary income;
2.Since the older people are disadvantaged by stereotypes which largely discredit the poor older workers in the unorganized sector, necessary measures are required to create opportunities, increase the competence of older workers and counterbalance this negative image;
3.Incidence of widowhood among women even before reaching old age results in a serious disadvantaged experience of old age;
4.Lack of food is a major cause of poor health; priority for elderly in these circumstances receiving nutritional supplements is highly desirable.
5.The configuration, design and general physical environment in which older people live including housing, transport, work place and recreation could be made more user friendly to achieve greater independent personal mobility, safety and convenience;
6.Systematic and analytical studies on the needs of the elderly in India, both urban and rural, are required to add substance to the many preliminary and exploratory studies already made;
7.On account of the shortage of trained personnel in many specialist fields, the training of professionals to organize and promote services and programmes for the elderly needs to be given high priority, especially in such areas as family support, financial provisions, health care and community involvement.
8.The specialised health needs of the older people require greater attention through the expansion and integration of geriatric and gerontological training in the medical curricula, mainstreaming of geriatric services in the Primary Health Centres and geriatric rehabilitation in the integrated Community Development programmes as an integral component of community based services would ensure that the full range of support services is accessible to older people in the health system. At this age of their life, the senior citizens need to be taken care of and made to feel special. They are a treasure to our society. Their hard work has helped in the development of the nation. The youth of today can gain from their experience, in taking the nation to greater heights.
Right to Safety
Means right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services, which are hazardous to life and property. The purchased goods and services availed of should not only meet their immediate needs, but also fulfill long term interests. Before purchasing, consumers should insist on the quality of the products as well as on the guarantee of the products and services. They should preferably purchase quality marked products such as ISI, AGMARK, etc
Right to be Informed
Means right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices. Consumer should insist on getting all the information about the product or service before making a choice or a decision. This will enable him to act wisely and responsibly and also enable him to desist from falling prey to high pressure selling techniques.
Right to Choose
Means right to be assured, wherever possible of access to variety of goods and services at competitive price. In case of monopolies, it means right to be assured of satisfactory quality and service at a fair price. It also includes right to basic goods and services. This is because unrestricted right of the minority to choose can mean a denial for the majority of its fair share. This right can be better exercised in a competitive market where a variety of goods are available at competitive prices
Right to be Heard
Means that consumer’s interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums. It also includes right to be represented in various forums formed to consider the consumer’s welfare. The Consumers should form non-political and non-commercial consumer organizations which can be given representation in various committees formed by the Government and other bodies in matters relating to consumers
Right to Seek Redressal
Means right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers. It also includes right to fair settlement of the genuine grievances of the consumer. Consumers must make complaint for their genuine grievances.Many a times their complaint may be of small value but its impact on the society as a whole may be very large. They can also take the help of consumer organisations in seeking redressal of their grievances.
Right to Consumer Education
Means the right to acquire the knowledge and skill to be an informed consumer throughout life.Ignorance of consumers, particularly of rural consumers, is mainly responsible for their exploitation. They should know their rights and must exercise them. Only then real consumer protection can be achieved with success.
Right to Freedom
The right to freedom is one of the most important fundamental right that have been granted to us by the founders of Indian Constitution. This right allow every citizen of India to be free from the ancient form of slavery. This fundamental right is described in the constitution as:
All citizens shall have the right-
To freedom of speech and expression;
To assemble peaceably and without arms;
To form associations or unions;
To move freely throughout the territory of India;
To reside and settle in any part of the territory of India;
to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.
Nothing in sub-clause (a) of clause (1) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, in so far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause in the interests of _16[the sovereignty and integrity of India,] the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.
Nothing in sub-clause (b) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of _16[the sovereignty and integrity of India or] public order, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause.
Nothing in sub-clause (c) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of _16[the sovereignty and integrity of India or] public order or morality, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause.
Nothing in _17[sub-clauses (d) and (e)] of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of any of the rights conferred by the said sub-clauses either in the interests of the general public or for the protection of the interests of any Scheduled Tribe.
Nothing in sub-clause (g) of the said clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law imposing, in the interests of the general public, reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by the said sub-clause, and, in particular, _18[nothing in the said sub-clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so far as it relates to, or prevent the State from making any law relating to,- the professional or technical qualifications necessary for practising any profession or carrying on any occupation, trade or business, or the carrying on by the State, or by a corporation owned or controlled by the State, of any trade, business, industry or service, whether to the exclusion, complete or partial, of citizens or otherwise.
Courtesy : http://www.nacib.in/