Justice Deprived Senior Citizens regret having born in India – Dr Ravindranath Shanbhag
Udupi: “The senior citizens who knocked at the doors of Human Rights Protection Foundation, seeking guidance to lodge complaints at the Senior Citizen’s Tribunal are now back again to seek the implementation of the order passed by the tribunal”, said Dr Ravindranath Shanbhag, president Human Rights Protection Foundation Udupi in a press meet held at Vaikunta Baliga Law College here, on October 12.
Addressing the mediapersons Dr Ravindranath Shanbhag said, “It has been a decade since the law for the protection of senior citizens was enacted by the government of India. It was only after the recent public awareness programmes that the Tribunal formed under the Maintenance and Welfare of Senior Citizens Act, started passing suitable orders. In spite of this, the senior citizens are still in misery. Though the orders are passed in favour of the senior citizens, due to the lack of coordination between the concerned departments such as Women and Child Welfare Department, Police, Revenue and the sub-registrar office, justice is but a mirage to the aggrieved senior citizens. Among those 23 who approached the foundation for help from across Karnataka, 8 have left this world. The rest still await justice. Except for Udupi district, all other districts of Karnataka have failed to implement the order passed by the tribunal. The nearby Dakshina Kannada district is known for education and development but when the foundation met the deputy commissioner, he is not even ready to talk with our volunteers”, Dr Ravindranath Shanuhag regretted.
Giving two examples of senior citizens who are still fighting for justice Dr Ravindranath Shanbhag said, “Girijamma an 80-year-old spinster of Kankanady, Mangaluru earned her living by selling bangles. Since she did not have a shop, she had to go door to door to sell the bangles. She had earned Rupees Two lakh by selling bangles at fares and markets and deposited the same in the Kadri Co-operative Bank as a fixed deposit with the hopes that it would come to her aid during her old age”.
Rama Poojary a stranger befriended Girijamma saying, “You are just like my mother, I will take care of you during your old age”. He assured here with sugar-coated words and misappropriated Girijamma’s lifetime savings. With Empty promises of repaying the amount and later absconded.
Girijamma approached an advocate in 2014 and moved the Civil court of Mangaluru which passed its judgement in 2016 in that Rama Poojary has to repay Girijamma an amount of Rs 2,20,000/- which included interest. After 10 months of struggling to get back her money, Girijamma approached the Human Rights Protection Foundation, Udupi.
Since Girijamma is suffering from health issues like diabetes and blood pressure she is unable to sign and submit her complaint, we sent a complaint to the Tribunal from our Foundation.
Six months have passed since the Assistant commissioner of Mangaluru ordered the Konaje Police Station to implement the order passed in favour of Girijamma. Seeing no hopes in the implementation of the order, Girijamma who is on her deathbed has prayed that, “Even if I don’t get the money, it should not go to Rama, please give it to an orphanage”.
In another case, D Shivanna retired principal from Mandya district is also facing the same type of situation by the officials. He has a wife and two daughters. One daughter is doing her BE in Bengaluru and another is physically disabled. After his retirement, he built a house from his savings. His wife requested to give Rs 15 lakhs to his brother-in-law Lokesh and Rs 3 lakh to another brother-in-law S V Ravi. After taking the money both failed to return it. From the last seven months, his wife’s mother was torturing him for money. When he refused, he was allegedly beaten by his brother-in-law and thrown out of the house.
Shivanna is suffering from health issues like diabetes and blood pressure. His pension amount is used to pay the bank loan. After being thrown out of the house he is living in a lodge.
Shivanna approached the AC court which passed its judgement on 6th October 2017. According to the judgement, his wife should return his house but the police department is not ready to help Shivanna. Even though the assistant commissioner passed the order, the department did nothing, he said.
Government officials have greater responsibilities in protecting the lives and properties of senior citizens. 90 percent of officials are still unaware of the provisions of the Act.
In these two cases the Human Rights Protection Foundation, Udupi is planning to appeal to the civil court against the officials who have failed to carry out the orders passed by the tribunal, he added.