HC asks Delhi govt to review pension scheme for aged, disabled

The court asked govt to explain why there was a cap on the number of beneficiaries.

New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the AAP government here to review the pension schemes for aged and disabled people and explain why there was a cap on the number of beneficiaries.

The court's observation came after Delhi government said it was running two welfare schemes to provide financial assistance to around 4.35 lakh elderly people and about 56,000 disabled people who are economically weak.

The government also said it could accommodate more persons under its old age scheme, subject to vacancies in the cap of 4.35 lakh people currently benefiting from it.

A bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva then observed that as no reason was indicated for the cap on number of beneficiaries under the old age scheme, the government may re-examine and review the upper limit, "particularly in light of actual number of people requiring this assistance".

The court had sought the government's response on whether it had any financial assistance scheme for old persons, since the municipal corporations in the capital were unable to pay the beneficiaries of their schemes.

The bench observed that the municipal bodies "do not have the financial wherewithal to provide stipends" under their old age pension schemes which have not been shut down formally, but had no beneficiaries "for all practical purposes."

The court made the observation after East MCD said that though it has not discontinued the scheme, it can no longer pay the stipends due to lack of funds.

The court then directed the corporations to provide the government with the list of names and other details of persons who are not receiving funds under the MCD schemes so that they may meet the eligibility criteria for the government schemes.

As the government was running the two schemes, the court disposed of the PIL filed by NGO Social Jurist through advocates Ashok Aggarwal and Khagesh Jha claiming that the municipal bodies had stopped paying pension under the old-age/widow/disabled persons pension and stipend scheme.

Delhi government, in its affidavit filed by additional standing counsel Santosh Kumar Tripathi, has said that under its old age scheme it pays Rs 1500 per month to people aged 70 years and above and Rs 1000 per month to those aged between 60-69 years.

Additional benefit of Rs 500 per month is being given to people who belong to SC/ST category and minorities who are aged between 60-69 years, the affidavit said.

( Source : PTI )
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