MAINTENANCE AND WELFARE OF PARENTS AND SENIOR CITIZENS ACT- AN ANALYSIS
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
According to the 2011 census, the elderly population aged sixty and above in India the population accounts for 8.6% (nearly 104 million), 53 million females and 51 million males. About 65% of the elderly people had to depend on others for their maintenance. It was expected that by 2026, the elderly population will reach 173 million. Nowadays the joint family was broken into single-family and many of the younger generations had forgotten to maintain their parents and they left their parents in the old age homes. Hence to safeguard the elderly people, Section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 was established for the maintenance to the elderly people but it is less speedy. To make the procedure speedy the government introduced the ‘Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007’.
Who can claim maintenance?
Under the sec. 4 of this act parents, grandparents and senior citizens can claim maintenance.
Parents include adoptive and step-parents, they can claim maintenance from their one or more children who are not a minor.
Grandparents include both maternal and paternal grandparents.
Senior citizen means the persons who are 60 years of age or above, they can claim the maintenance from their relatives who possess the senior citizen’s property or who will inherit the property of the senior citizen after their death.
To get the maintenance the applicant should prove the following conditions:
1. Unable to maintain themselves from their earnings
2. Unable to maintain themselves from their property
The maintenance includes the food, clothing, residence and medical expenses. Under Section 7(2) of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, a tribunal is established to provide order for the maintenance. In Tamil Nadu, the tribunal is presided over by the Revenue Divisional Officer (R.D.O). The tribunal may order the maximum maintenance paid will be Rs. 10,000 per month. The maintenance will be determined according to the needs of the applicant.
The application for the maintenance should be filed before the tribunal in the district where
1. The residence of the parents or grandparents or senior citizens is located
2. The residence of the person against whom the maintenance is claimed is located
If the person cannot apply, then any other person or organization can apply on his/her behalf. Once the order is passed by the tribunal, the copy of the order will be provided to the applicant for free. If the person failed to give the maintenance then he was sentenced to imprisonment which may extend to one month.
Protection transferred property of senior citizens
For the protection of life and property of senior citizens, under section 23 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, the transfer of property is said to be void, if the transfer of the property is done under fraud or coercion or undue influence.
Sec. 125 of Cr.P.C
Under the Section 12 of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, an option has been given to the parents or grandparents or senior citizens to claim maintenance under the Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The person can claim either under Section 9 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act or under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code but cannot claim under both.
Comparison of Section 125 of Cr.P.C and Section 9 of this act
The procedure to get maintenance under the sec. 125 of Cr.P.C is not speedy but the procedure is speedy under the sec. 9 of this act. No is no limit for the maintenance under the sec. 125 of the Cr.P.C but the maximum maintenance claimed under the sec. 9 of this act is Rs. 10,000.
The son/daughter of some parents forgetting to maintain their parents and grandparents after getting the property from them; the main purpose of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 is to safeguard the parents, grandparents and senior citizens. But still, many parents, grandparents and senior citizens are not aware of it. The government should create awareness about this act among the people. If the person fails to provide the maintenance to his parents or grandparents then he are imprisoned which may be extended to one month but the punishment is sufficient. It was suggested that the punishment should be severe and deterrent.