Downtown

Free legal clinic for seniors

The clinic will try to address property-related dispute, vacating a tenant and seeking guardianship for a minor child. Photo: K. V. Srinivasan   | Photo Credit: K_V_Srinivasan

As a senior officer of the Education Department, V. Janaki (name changed) was accustomed to travelling widely on work. These trips would energise her.

With advancing age – she is now 84 – she has had to curtail her travelling. Shut up in her home, Janaki, a spinster, feels the pangs of loneliness. Disputes with relatives over her will only add to her feeling of hopelessness.

Incidents of elders suffering in silence have become common. Some take the legal route to settling disputes. The majority shy away from this option, because of the unpleasantness it entails. Here’s help for such seniors. Dignity Foundation has opened a ‘Legal Clinic’ for them.

The free clinic hopes to address a range of issues faced by seniors, including property-related disputes, vacating a tenant and seeking guardianship for a minor child.

The Foundation’s helpline, on an average, receives eight to 10 calls a month. The majority of them are related to property matters. “We register the complaint and provide counselling to solve the issue, if it is not highly legal in nature. If the problem is still not solved, an experienced lawyer guides the senior citizen,” said R. K. Radhakrishnan, director, Dignity Foundation. P. Bhaskaran, retired judge, Madras High Court, who opened the clinic, said court gives maximum priority to cases relating to seniors.

“But, going to the court should be the last resort and this clinic should help seniors by counselling them,” he said. Lawyers V. Raza Narayanan, S. Lakshmikanthan, M. Kandaswamy and N. Sunderajan are the panel members who will meet seniors.

Seniors should write in their complaints and also mention the kind of redressal they are looking for. The team at Dignity Foundation will fix an appointment for them with the lawyers at its centre.

As a senior officer of the Education Department, V. Janaki (name changed) was accustomed to travelling widely on work. These trips would energise her.

With advancing age – she is now 84 – she has had to curtail her travelling. Shut up in her home, Janaki, a spinster, feels the pangs of loneliness. Disputes with relatives over her will only add to her feeling of hopelessness.

Incidents of elders suffering in silence have become common. Some take the legal route to settling disputes. The majority shy away from this option, because of the unpleasantness it entails. Here’s help for such seniors. Dignity Foundation has opened a ‘Legal Clinic’ for them.

The free clinic hopes to address a range of issues faced by seniors, including property-related disputes, vacating a tenant and seeking guardianship for a minor child.

The Foundation’s helpline, on an average, receives eight to 10 calls a month. The majority of them are related to property matters. “We register the complaint and provide counselling to solve the issue, if it is not highly legal in nature. If the problem is still not solved, an experienced lawyer guides the senior citizen,” said R. K. Radhakrishnan, director, Dignity Foundation. P. Bhaskaran, retired judge, Madras High Court, who opened the clinic, said court gives maximum priority to cases relating to seniors.

“But, going to the court should be the last resort and this clinic should help seniors by counselling them,” he said. Lawyers V. Raza Narayanan, S. Lakshmikanthan, M. Kandaswamy and N. Sunderajan are the panel members who will meet seniors.

Seniors should write in their complaints and also mention the kind of redressal they are looking for. The team at Dignity Foundation will fix an appointment for them with the lawyers at its centre.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 6:33:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/free-legal-clinic-for-seniors/article6323904.ece

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