A PIL has been filed seeking direction to protect the life and dignity of senior citizens, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In one of the prayers, the petitioners sought direction to increase the monthly pension as directed by the Supreme Court and also to release the pension amount, which is due from January 2020.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka ordered a notice to the Union government, state government and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in response to the PIL.
The petition, filed by NGO Akhila Karnataka Vayovrudhara Okkoota (Aikyatha) that represents senior citizens, said the state government has failed to disburse pensions as per its own September 2018 order.
The government had set the pension amount for the Sandhya Suraksha Yojana and the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme for persons above 65 years at Rs 1,000 and those aged between 60 and 64 at Rs 600. Though the state and district treasuries are assigned with the responsibility of implementing the increased pension, senior citizens do not receive their pension within the second week of every month, the petition stated.
Despite the orders that the disbursement of social security pensions to senior citizens was to remain functional, pensions have not been received since January 2020, the petition said.
It stated that the pandemic has had a severe impact on senior citizens in the state. Through all the guidelines, persons above 65 years have been advised to stay at home.
Midday meal programme
The petition said the decision to restart the midday hot meal programme for senior citizens in Bengaluru was riddled with arbitrariness and disregard, despite the BBMP’s intent to restart.
The petition prayed for direction to the state to increase the monthly pension as directed by the Supreme Court and conduct of monthly pension adalats. It also requested direction for providing medicines, masks and sanitisers, and conduct of door-to-door health inspections.