HAPPY 68 TH INDEPENDENCE DAY.
M.V.Ruparelia, Chief Patron, All India Senior Citizens Confederation (AISCCON),
A503 Rashmi Utsav, Near Jangid Estate & Vijay Park, Mira Road (E). District Thane, Maharashtra. 401 107. M.09821732855. E/Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
To Date: 15-8-14.
Shri Surendra Rawat, Dy Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment,
Government of India, Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi-110 001.
Sub: National Commission for Senior Citizens Bill.
Ref: Your letter no. 15-40(4)/2014-15/AG.II dt 12-8-14 to perhaps 18 members of Committee for this purpose.
12 crore Elders of the Country are very much thankful to you and Nodal Ministry for initiating the provision of National Commission for Senior Citizens, as already provided long ago to various sections of the Society like women, children, SC/ST, Minorities etc and enacted from 1990 onwards. Draft prepared by you is in conformity with such enactments and can be processed quickly instead of waiting for onset of year 2015! Though not asked, I give my observations, as under for examination and needful.
1. Providing National Commission for Senior Citizens of India is a right step, looking to the indifference of the Public Authorities in implementing the Policies declared on the basis of Constitution, Laws and international commitments. 12 crore Senior Citizens have suffered heavily due to non-provision of such Legal Entity for all these years, though various sections of the Society like women, children, minorities, SC/ST, disabled etc are already having such Commissions since long 20-24 years. Even now, the Nodal Ministry appears to initiate enactment of such Commission in 2015 instead of during current year and after long drawn out process of getting passed in both Parliaments etc, it will have effect on some further distant date to be notified!! We request/insist on starting the process of enactment right now for ever increasing suffering Elders and should not make them to wait for further long time!
2. Scope of the Commission should be increased to violations of declared Policies of the Government and not limited to violation of the provisions of the Constitution and other laws, as there is only one law of Maintenance Act only and all others like NPOP, IPOP & NPHCE etc are only Policies having no legal enforcement, though notified with approval of the Cabinet!! The scope of Commission should be limited to ``Watch Dog`` for violations of the provisions of the Constitution, other laws and declared Policies & guidelines relating to Senior Citizens and for recommendations for the effective implementation of those safeguards for improving the conditions of Senior Citizens by the Union or any State; review, from time to time, the existing provisions of the Constitution, other laws and Policies affecting Senior Citizens and recommend amendments thereto so as to suggest remedial legislative/civil measures to meet any lacunae, inadequacies or shortcomings in such legislations but not for Consultations on all major policy matters affecting Senior Citizens, as laid down in Sec 16. For consultations, Government must provide regular Negotiating Machinery like National Association of Older Persons (NAOP-para 96 of NPOP, 99) at national, state & district level in addition to National Council at national & state levels.
3. As Commission will function as Civil Court, it is necessary to clarify whether the Whole Commission will function as a Bench or each Member can function separately.
4. Time limit for dealing with representations/complaints from Senior Citizens should be laid down and not left to the discretion of Commission, making it ineffective like CIC/SIC etc with thousands of Appeals/Complaints pending year after year and compliance of orders not ensured.
5. The following suggestions on various sections may be examined:-
Sec 3(2) (b): Add ``provided one Member may be from `Judicial` background (as Commission has to work as Civil Court also).
Sec 3(2) (b): Add ``provided one of the 4 Members may be from eminent senior citizens.
Sec 10(1) (a): Add after Constitution & Other Laws-All Policies notified by Government.
Sec 10(1) (d): Add after Constitution & Other Laws-All Policies notified by Government. Add After legislations- All Policies notified by Government.
Sec 10(1) (e): Add after Constitution and of other laws- All Policies notified by Government.
Sec 10(1) (f): Add after matters relating to- within a reasonable time to be fixed by the Commission.
Sec10 (f) (ii): Add after non-implementation of laws enacted- and Policies notified by Government.
Sec 16: Remove this provision; otherwise all Public Authorities will make consultation with Commission of 4 members a time passing practice.
We shall be thankful, if above suggestions are examined and National Commission for Senior Citizens given to the Elders by end of this Year 2014.