The Madras High Court Bench here on Friday ordered notice to the State in a public interest litigation petition seeking a direction to the State Government to open special wards for senior citizens in all government hospitals as required under Section 20 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007, a Central legislation.

Petitioner, K. Arumugam of a non-governmental organisation here, also sought the establishment of special tribunals in every sub-division for deciding cases relating to payment of monthly maintenance to senior citizens. Section 7 of the 2007 Act makes it mandatory for State Governments to establish such tribunals within six months from the date of commencement of the Act.

In an affidavit filed through his counsel R. Alagumani, the petitioner claimed that the State was yet to implement Rule 21 of the Tamil Nadu Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Rules 2009 which lays down an action plan, devised by none other than the State, for the protection of life and property of senior citizens.

As per the rule, every Commissioner and Superintendent of Police must take necessary steps to protect the life and property of senior citizens.

Every police station should maintain an up-to-date list of senior citizens living within its jurisdiction and especially those who were living on their own without any support. A representative of the police station should visit such senior citizens at regular intervals.

Sub-clause (v) of the Section further states that the police officers must publicise widely in the media the steps taken by them for the protection of life and property of senior citizens. A separate register should be maintained in police stations to record offences committed against the aged. The antecedents of domestic servants working for senior citizens should be verified promptly on request.

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