Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007

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Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 is a legislation enacted in 2007, initiated by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.,[1] to provide more effective provision for maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens. This Act make it a legal obligation for children and heirs to provide maintenance to senior citizens and parents, by monthly allowance. This Act also provides simple, speedy and inexpensive mechanism for the protection of life and property of the older persons. After being passed by the parliament of India received the assent of President of India on December 29, 2007 and was published in the Gazette of India on December 31, 2007.Some states have already implemented the act and other states are taking steps for implementing this Act.[2]

Indian society lay high importance on providing care and protection for parents and elderly. Withering of joint family system has contributed to the challenges faced by elderly. Nowadays they are forced to live alone and are exposed to various kinds of problems such as lack of physical, social, emotional and financial support. To overcome such difficulties and to face new challenges, the Government of India has enacted this law in the fifty- eighth year of republic so as to provide maintenance and protection to parents and senior citizens.[3] The population of the senior citizens constituted 7.5% of the total population in 2001. However, as per the Report of the Technical Group on Population Projections, constituted by the National Commission on Population in May 2006, and published by the Office of the Registrar General of India, this figure is projected to go up to 12.40% of the population by 2026.[4]

The first case under the act was filed in November 2011 by Siluvai (age 84) and his wife Arulammal (age 80) of Tuticorin against their son and daughter-in-law for neglect, besides taking away their two homes and gold jewellery.[5]

Objects of the Act[edit]

This Act provides in-expensive and speedy procedure to claim monthly maintenance for parents and senior citizens. This Act casts obligations on children to maintain their parents/grandparents and also the relative of the senior citizen to maintain such senior citizens. The main attraction of this Act is there are provisions to protect the life and property of such persons. This Act also provides setting up of old age homes for providing maintenance to the indigent senior citizens and parents. This Act extends to the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir state.[6]

Definitions[edit]

  • Children- Include son, daughter, grandson, grand daughter but does not include a minor[7]
  • Maintenance includes provision for food, clothing, residence, medical attendance and treatment[8]
  • Parent- means father or mother whether biological, adoptive or step father or step mother, whether or not father or mother is a senior citizen[9]
  • Senior citizen- means an Indian who attained the age of 60 years or above[10]
  • Relative- means any legal heir of childless senior citizen who is not a minor and is in possession of or would inherit his property after his death[11]
  • Welfare- means provision for food, healthcare, recreation centers and other amenities necessary for senior citizens[12]

Maintenance of Parents and senior citizens[edit]

A senior citizen including parent who is unable able to maintain himself from his own earning or out of the property owned by him, is entitled to get relief under this Act. Children/grand children are under obligation to maintain his or her parent either father, mother or both.[13] Likewise, relative of a senior citizen is also bound to look after the senior citizen. If such children or relative is not maintaining his parents or senior citizen respectively, then the parents/senior citizen can seek the assistance of Tribunal constituted under this Act, to enforce the remedy of maintenance. Such parents/ senior citizen can file an application before the Tribunal, claiming maintenance and other reliefs from their children/relatives as the case may be.[14]

Such application for maintenance can be filed by the senior citizen or a parent himself, or if such person is incapable, then by any other person or any registered organisation authorised by him.[15] The Tribunal can also suo motu take cognizance of the case. After receiving the application the Tribunal may issue notice to the respondent-children/relative and provide them time to furnish their reply. Such application for maintenance should be disposed of within 90 days from the date of service of notice of application to the respondent. However, the Tribunal can extend time for a maximum period of 30 days in exceptional circumstances after recording reason. The Tribunal is having power to allow interim maintenance pending disposal of the case. Even though the application can be filed against any of children/relative as the case may be, such respondent-children/relative can implead other person who are liable to pay maintenance.[16]

If such children/relative who are directed to pay maintenance fail to comply with the order of tribunal without sufficient cause, the Tribunal may issue warrant for levying the due amount from them in the manner levying fines and can also sentence the erring respondent to imprisonment that may extend to one month or until payment made whichever is earlier.[17] The Tribunal will not issue Warrant to execute the order of maintenance, if such petition for execution is filed after a period of 3 months from the date on which the maintenance is due. The application under this Act can be filed before the Tribunal in any district, where the applicant resides or last resided or where children or relative resides. The evidence of proceedings shall be taken in the presence of children/relative against whom relief is sought and if such respondent is willfully avoiding service of summons or neglecting to attend the Tribunal, the Tribunal may proceed and determine the case ex parte. If the Tribunal is satisfied that such children/relative against whom such application for maintenance is pending, neglect or refuses to maintain the parents/senior citizens as the case may be, may order such children/relative to pay monthly allowance to such applicant. The maximum amount of maintenance that can be allowed by the Tribunal is Rs.Ten Thousand per month.[18] The tribunal has power to alter, modify or cancel the order in appropriate circumstances.The Tribunal has also power to levy interest on the maintenance amount, which shall be not less than 5% and greater than 18%. Aggrieved by the order of Tribunal, senior citizen/parent can file appeal before Appellate tribunal within a period of 60 days and if the Appellate tribunal is satisfied that there occurred some delay in filing appeal due to sufficient cause, the appeal can be entertained.

Protection of life and property of Senior citizen[edit]

If a senior citizen after the commencement of this Act, has transferred his property either moveable or immovable, by way of gift or otherwise, subject to the condition that the transferee shall provide him basic amenities and physical needs and thereafter such transferee reuses or fails to provide such promise, such transfer of property shall be deemed to have been made by fraud, coercion or undue influence and the Tribunal can declare such transfer as void.[19] Before the enactment of this law, a senior citizen's only remedy in such a case was to approach the court for maintenance from the children to whom he had given the property by way of gift or otherwise and such property would be the exclusive property of the transferee and the senior citizen had no right in such property. But after the enactment of this Act, a senior citizen can reclaim his property from the transferee.[20] The concerned police personnel will also ensure priority in dealing with these types of cases.[21] Representation by lawyers are prohibited under section 17 of this Act. However the Hon'ble Kerala High Court held that legal practitioners also could represent cases under this Act.[22]

Abandoning a senior citizen in any place by a person who is having the care or protection of such senior citizen is a criminal offence and such person shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or fine which may extend to five thousand rupees or both.[23]

This Act also provides that state governments may establish old age homes at least one in one district to accommodate indigent senior citizens. State governments may also ensure proper medical care for senior citizens.

Criticism[edit]

Though this Acts provides provisions for a better position for the parents and elderly, there are some criticism also. It is alleged that ,this Act is not easy to implement, there is no obligation casts on the state government to establish old age homes, there is no provisions for old age pensions, definitions provided are confusing etc.[24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Legislations". Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  2. ^ http://www.helpageindia.org/our-work/rights/parents-maintenance-act.html Implementation status nationwide
  3. ^ "35 elderly persons benefited under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act". The Times of India. Jan 8, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  4. ^ http://www.socialjustice.nic.in/pdf/report-nationalconferenceonageing.pdf Areport on Natioanal conference on aging
  5. ^ "Case against son under maintenance act for neglecting parents". The Times of India. Nov 11, 2011. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  6. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php Section 1(2) of the Act
  7. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php Section 2(a) of the Act
  8. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php?pageid=2 Section 2(b) of the Act
  9. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php?pageid=2 Section 2(d) of the Act
  10. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php?pageid=2 Section 2(h) of the Act
  11. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php?pageid=2 Section 2(g) of the Act
  12. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php?pageid=2 Section 2(k) of the Act
  13. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php?pageid=2 Section 4 of the Act
  14. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php?pageid=2 Section 5 of the Act
  15. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php?pageid=2 Section 591) of the Act
  16. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php?pageid=3 Section 5(5) of the Act
  17. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php?pageid=3 Section 5(8) of the Act
  18. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php?pageid=4 Section 9(2) of the Act
  19. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php?pageid=7 Section 23 of the Act
  20. ^ http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/senior-citizens-can-now-reclaim--gifted--property-from-children/1167943/
  21. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/when-law-steps-in-to-help-abandoned-parents/article3954023.ece Articles ireported in Hindu News paper
  22. ^ http://judis.nic.in/judis_kerala/qrydisp.aspx?filename=321678 Kerala High court judgment dated 26-8-13
  23. ^ http://socialjustice.nic.in/oldageact.php?pageid=7 Section 24 of the Act
  24. ^ http://www.lawteacher.net/family-law/essays/effectiveness-of-the-legal-provisions-law-essays.php Law Teacher

External links[edit]