January 22, 2022

Maintenance And Welfare of Parents And Senior Citizens Act, 2007

Call for Papers for law students

Introduction

“Nurturing is not complex. It’s merely being tuned in to the thing or person before you and offering small gestures toward what it needs at that time” (Radmacher 58). As we see today’s scenario, as generation is growing there are many cases in which children don’t care about their parents or grandparents when they get old, and they suffer from different type of inabilities be it physical or mental, sometimes they don’t even get a place to live and they aren’t in a position to support themselves financially. “As per 2011 census, citizens over the age of 60 years comprise 8.6% and that may increase to 21% by 2050”[1], and as the population of old citizens was growing at that pace and the problems they were facing was a major concern so because of that, Ministry of Law and Justice came with a legislature titled “Maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens Act, 2007”, so that this act will ensure that those senior citizens gets sufficient means for their maintenance. This act will provide financial security and will require their children to provide maintenance to their parents and grandparents.

Who Can Avail Maintenance Under This Act?

Parents or grand-parents or senior citizens can avail maintenance under this act from their children or relatives. A parent can be father or mother or both, inconsequential of whether they are biological or step parents or whether they come under the criteria of senior citizen or not. “A childless step-mother may claim maintenance from her step-son provided she is a widow or her husband, if living, is also incapable of supporting and maintaining her”.[2]

Senior citizen comprises persons who are citizen of India and comes under the category of age bar 60 years and above, it will also include parent who is not able to maintain themselves from their own earning or out of the property owned by them. If the senior citizen who does not have any means to maintain themselves, and they are also not having any children to maintain them, then they can get maintenance from their relative. Relative means any legal heir who is in possession of his property (of any kind whether movable or immovable, ancestral or self-acquired, tangible or intangible) or would inherit his property after his death. If there is a condition that there are more than one relative who are entitled to inherit the property of senior citizen then maintenance payable by them will be in accordance of the proportion in which they will inherit the property.

If a maintenance order is made against more then one person then if one of them dies it will not affect the liability of others. But if the senior citizen is entitled to claim maintenance under both the Acts i.e, Chapter IX of Code of Criminal Procedure and Maintenance of Senior Citizens Act, 2007 then he can claim under either of them not under both.

 

Who Shall Be Liable To Maintain

This Act states that children will be liable for the maintenance of their parents or grandparents. So, the term children actually comprises son, daughter, grandson and grand-daughter but they should not be minors. It will be their responsibility to take care of the basic amenities of their parents and grand parents. They have to take care of their food, clothing, residence, medical attendance and treatment, things that will help them to lead a normal life.

Procedure

  • Senior citizen or parent whoever is not able to fulfil their needs from their own earning or out of the property that they own they can make application for maintenance under Section 5[3] and if they are not able to file application then that can be filed by any other person or organization authorized (any voluntary association registered under the Societies registration Act, 1860) by them or the tribunal can take the case on “suo moto”[4].
  • After the filing of application, notice will be sent to children or relative regarding that, so that they will get an opportunity to be heard and to hold an enquiry regarding the amount of maintenance.
  • An application for monthly allowance shall be disposed within 90 days and can be extended only in some exceptional cases for 30 days.
  • The expenses shall be paid from the date of order. Court can also order to pay the amount from the date of application, if necessary. When an order is made then the amount shall be paid within 30 days from the date of order.
  • If children or relatives fail to comply with orders then they should give sufficient reasons to do so otherwise Tribunal may for every breach issue a warrant or issue fine or may sentence imprisonment to that person which may extend to one month or till the time payment is done. No warrant shall be issued by Tribunal to levy such amount until and unless three months time has been passed.
  • The Tribunal will have jurisdiction to proceed if children or relative resides or last resided in the jurisdiction of the tribunal or if children or relative resides in the jurisdiction of the tribunal.
  • Evidence shall be taken in the presence of children or relative against whom the notice has been issued.
  • If tribunal is satisfied that children or relative are wilfully neglecting to attend the proceeding then, court may give ex-parte decision. If children does is residing out of India then summon will be issued in the form that is specified by the Central Government in the Official Gazette.
  • The maintenance amount which Tribunal can order shall not exceed the limit prescribed by State Government or it shall not exceed ten thousand rupees per month.
  • If any senior citizen is not satisfied by the order i.e, aggrieved by order of tribunal may file an appeal to appellate tribunal within 60 days from the date of order. No appeal will be rejected unless a proper opportunity has been given to both the parties of being heard by a duly authorized representative.
  • If the person who has responsibility of taking care leaves the person in any place with intention of abandoning him then he will be liable for imprisonment which may extend to three months of fine which may extend to five thousand rupees or with both.

Responsibility Of Government

  • This Act ensures that Government has to build and take proper care of hospitals fully or partially funded which provide proper arrangement of beds for all senior citizens, facility for treatment of chronic diseases. In public places or hospitals, there should be arrangement of separate queue.
  • The State government may impose such duties on District Magistrate to ensure that the provisions of this Act are properly carried out.
  • If after the commencement of this Act, any senior citizen has transferred his property by way of gift or by any other method then it will be responsibility of the transferee to provide basic amenities and basic physical needs of the transferor and if the transferee denies then it will be considered that such transfer has been made under coercion or under undue influence and shall be declared as void.
  • State government may establish and maintain old age homes at places which are accessible to many people and may also prescribe to manage those age old homes.

Conclusion

  1. In this Act it is written that State Government may establish age old homes i.e, Act is not making it as compulsion. Act should make it as a compulsion because this is the most essential thing for the maintenance of old age people because if government is not properly taking responsibility of these helpless people then how can they expect from people to take care about those people.
  2. The main point is that parents will never go to court to pressurize their children to fulfil their needs, so rather than focusing on how children has to maintain their parents, the Act should focus on how a system can be created in which schemes should be implemented in such a way that these old age people can get pensions or money directly in their back account to maintain themselves. More awareness related programmes should be run across the country to make these people understand their rights and that they should not suffer just thinking about their children, they also have right to live a healthy life.

Recent Posts

[1] National Policy for Senior Citizens, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, March 2011

[2] Kirtikant D. Vadodaria V. State of Gujarat and Ors. [1996 (3) GLR 746 (SC)]

[3] Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007

[4] Relating to an action taken by a court of its own accord, without any request by parties

References

  1. https://cleartax.in/s/maintenance-and-welfare-of-parents-and-senior-citizens-act-2007
  2. https://legislative.gov.in/actsofparliamentfromtheyear/maintenance-and-welfare-parents-and-senior-citizens-act-2007

Author Details: Pranav Dubey (ICFAI Law School, Hyderabad)

Law Library LawBhoomi