Senior citizens, cheated by their children or caretakers, have not always been able to rely on the Maintenance Tribunal to come to their rescue. Their complaints are sometimes dismissed and even when upheld, the orders in their favour are not implemented, leaving them as badly off as before.
But now the Udupi district administration has appointed an enforcement officer to make sure the tribunal’s orders are implemented and they get justice. Headed by the Assistant Commissioner and set up under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, the tribunal was meant to help old people in their times of distress, but instead they are often forced to run from pillar to post to have its orders enforced despite their poor health or limited income.
Their cause was finally taken up by the Human Rights Protection Foundation, whose president, Ravindranath Shanbhag, informed the Udupi district Deputy Commissioner, Priyanka Mary Francis about the problems they encountered. She responded by issuing an order appointing the district disabled welfare officer, Niranjan Bhat as enforcement officer to implement the tribunal’s orders.
The officer has been asked to co ordinate with Mr Shanbhag to see that senior citizens do not continue to suffer as they have been. “The appointment of the enforcement officer will help in proper implementation of the tribunal’s order. Hundreds of senior citizens will benefit,” said Mr Shanbhag , who is now trying to fight for the cause of the elderly in other parts of the state and country as well.
“Our organisation has already approached other states and the Union government to follow the example of the Udupi administration. We will work to appoint enforcement officers in all the districts of our state first and then in other states too,” he added.