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Maintenance And Welfare Of Parents And Senior Citizens Act, 2007

It is well said the, "God cannot be available everywhere so that's the reason why he made parents." Parents are something kind of treasure which if a person acquires it he is termed to be rich. They are the ones who change their own will just for the sake of their children, they try to give what's best for them and we as a child owe them alot. Because it is because of them that we came to this world, we went school, learned many things and later when we get great jobs just because of our education we should thank them for providing all the means for this very moment. But the big Irony is that when these children becomes unmoral and un-respectful.

They just have to torture their parents, humiliate them and in some cases they are send to old age homes. And have you ever noticed? while these morons are doing all this, they just accept what their children are doing and they drink up all there sorrows and just smiles to their faces, that is what parenthood is all about.

I heard a case in United States Of America, Ohio where a 93 year old father was taking care of his 63 year old son who was a cancer patient, In the age of 93 the father is still caring for his cancer patient son and the world wanna live in a nuclear family. but why?

Can you guys could get this sort of care in a nuclear family? The reason why we are changing our family trees from joint to nuclear family is that the children seek their parents as a burden. And a person having a same thinking like this just need to be answered. So, my dear friend, if your mother would consider you a burden when you where their in her pelvic region for 9 months, you wont be present right now in the beautiful world.

Dont worry everything that goes around comes around, 'KARMA' is something which everyone has to deal with. And maybe you're children would do the same like you're treating your parents right now.

In India because of this American mentality people started to take parents as a burden, they treat them like they are nothing to them but they always forget that their existence in this world is just because of them. Due to all this the children's sometimes let their parents out of their house just because to gain property of the parents, once a wise man said," if a brain is stupid, the thoughts from them are also stupid". And these brains are of these children's who for the sake of property disrespect their parents but you stupid brains, the will is under the hands of your parents and they are the real key to the property and if you break your relation with the key then the door of property are forever locked for you.

The Indian society went from many traumatized cases of torturing the senior citizens in their homes by their children's and so the Parliament came with a bill introducing about maintenance and welfare of senior citizens and parents act,. Both the houses passed the bill and the bill got president's assent on Dec,2007. Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 is a legislation, initiated by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India to provide more effective provision for maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens. It makes it a legal obligation for children and heirs to provide maintenance to senior citizens and parents, by monthly allowance. It also provides simple, speedy and inexpensive mechanism for the protection of life and property of the older persons.

The 1st case under this act came from south India in 2010 where wife and husband (senior citizens) filed a case against their son and daughter-in-law as they took their house an gold from them. The house and the gold belonged to the spouse but they were under illegal possession by their son and daughter-in-law.

Apart from this above case there are many cases like the same and some even are not filed because either they are murdered or they are not allowed to go out their own houses. In the need to protect senior citizens and parents the Indian government came up with this act.

Significance Of This Development
The main significance of this act is to protect, maintain and for the welfare of senior citizens of the country, as they are also the part of this country, and they do have some fundamental rights with them and lastly they are voters for the political party too.

The development of this act gives a great right to the parents because they are the one that needs respect and all the care they provided to their children and they expect the same from them but because of their change of mind the children does not do so and they forget that how much they owe to their parents.

Apart from Children not maintain their parents, this act also covers that if a father is not able to maintain himself with his income then it is the duty of the child to maintain them. If such children 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 relief's from their children/relatives as the case may be. 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. 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.10,000/-per month.

The issue of the protection of elderly person's right becomes very sensitive. Although in our present days there is a random upliftment of our lives towards a modern and globalize society, the traditional norms and status of senior citizen are randomly degraded. They lack physical, financial and emotional support. They are totally exposed to such a vulnerable situation where there is no one to act as a balm to their wounded souls, not even their own children. To eradicate this agony some legislative measures are taken into force, but to some extent these are inadequate to cope up all the complicated and problematic situations.

This act came in a very later stage but finally it was passed because the society really needed these laws so that the senior most citizens could also be protected from their own children. It is termed that a senior citizen is a book of knowledge and they have all the knowledge of how you should live a life and they have so much experience from their childhood time uptill date that these people our the teachers of morals and ethics but see to their bad lucks that they are thrown out or are not maintained by there own children.

Impact
By bringing out the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, the Government has taken a big step towards bringing a smile to the faces of the elders of our society. As a nation, it is every citizens duty to ensure that Senior Citizens live a happy, healthy and secure life. They took care of us in their youth and helped us grow; we owe them a better tomorrow. Enforcing this act brought many changes in the society and many senior citizens people and parents got to now that they have still rights and power with them and their relatives or children are bound to maintain them and if they don't do so then they can take help of the courts.

By bringing this act the major point for this act was safe living for the senior most citizens of the country and they aslo have the right to life and because they still they have their fundamental rights with them the parliament made these laws just for them so that there children does not refuse them for any kind of maintenance.

This act stated for the development of old age homes in every state and it is the duty of state to accommodate indigent senior citizens in these old age homes. The state have to develop these old age homes for the people living there with taking care of medical treatment of every person and of the entertainment too.

The impact on children was the main purpose of this act because due to disrespect from there children the old people are left alone or are left somewhere else. Now with this act in force it is the duty of children to take care of their parents and if children are not there then relatives, because if a old man cannot maintain himself then his children or relative have to maintain them.

Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act provides for the obligation of a person to maintain his or her parent whenever they are unable to look after themselves. This provision does not make it mandatory that each and every person, whether male or female, they has to look after their parents, but the law turns to be mandatory when there is a violation in maintaining our parents. While going through the Muslim Law of maintenance, same principle has been applied, i.e. every person is bound to look after their parents according to their financial capability.

There is yet another provision regarding the rights for older people which is well enumerated in various provisions under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. Under this Act, there is a clear picture regarding the definitions of parents as well as senior citizens which is provided in chapter 1 and their maintenance and related provisions in chapter 2.

The Act makes it mandatory that senior citizens as well as parents who are unable to look after themselves, are to be maintained so as to earn a good living. Even though there are such strong enactments in our country, rights of senior citizens and other elderly people are still locked inside the four walls of such statutes. In this context, there comes the importance of various government/non-government organizations working in favour of such elderly people of the society.

Many organizations in our country plays a pivotal role in looking after senior citizens and many other legal and organizations stands for their rights. The most appreciable part is that such organizations are running free of cost for the ones who are in need of care and protection.

The act made a great support for the senior people, the rights which this act offers them is what they need for a healthy and a good living. Not the senior citizen only but every other citizen of this country has the right to live a good life and so our constitution tells care of that for us.

Constitutional Provisions
In India every Bill whenever is made in the parliament, it is properly looked by both the houses that the bill introduced is not vilatiing any Constitutional Article and the bill introduced for a particular group in society have that right with them or the bill is Ultra Vires in context with the constitution.

However, Constitution of India does not specifically as well as particularly provide the rights for senior citizens of our country but in general all the fundamental rights can be availed by all the citizens of India. Therefore, from this one can conclude that indirectly all those rights can be used as the protective measures by senior citizen. An infringement of those rights is subject to judicial review. Some fundamental rights and some directive principles of state policies can be vividly used by senior citizens to establish their rights. Those are discussed in the following manner.

Article 21
Article 21 of Indian constitution protects life and personal liberty of an individual. But the judicial intervention expands the scope of Article 21 by which if paves way to include the various types of rights including right to enjoyment of pollution free and healthy environment, the right to health and medical care ,emergency aid to medical facilities, right to livelihood, right to live a dignified life right to social security and right to live with proper or just reputation of a person in his valuable asset.

Apart from these above, there are so many landmark judgments, which directly do help to uplift the vulnerable position of the deprived senior citizen. Right to have shelter, right to free legal aid, right to speedy trial, right against in human treatment, are some of those. It is noteworthy to mention here that in a landmark judgment, the Apex court has held that the state is bound to protect the life and liberty of every human being where he is a citizen or non-citizen.

In Another landmark judgment, the Apex court has held that the people who are starving because of their inability to purchase food grains have right to get food under Art. 21 and therefore they ought to be provided the same free of cost by the States out of surplus stock lying with the states particularly when it is unused and rotting. The court held that under such a situation food grains be provided to all these who are aged, infirm, disabled, destitute women, destitute men etc.

Accordingly, the court directed the states to make surplus food grains lying in go downs available to all of them immediately through PDS shops to avoid starvation and mal nourishment. In this context, two recent judgments are noteworthy to be mentioned.
  1. Firstly, right to electricity is included in right to life and
  2. Secondly court held that the wife could not object to the donation of an organ by husband to his ailing father on the ground of violation of her fundamental right to life under Article 21 of Indian Constitution.

Article 41:
Article 41 is in the part IV of the Constitution i.e., Directive Principles of State Policy. According to this Article, the State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing right to work, to education and to public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want. Therefore, this Article 41 has particular relevance to old age social security.

Article 309:
Article 309 of Indian Constitution says that the acts of appropriate legislature may regulate the requirement and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services in connection with the affairs of union or of any state. The governments concerned frame rules and regulations from time to time laying conditions of service including retirement benefits to its employees.

This very article provides that the recruitment procedure, appointment and service condition rules of Union and States will have to pass through the test of 'Constitutional validity' .That means the union and state legislatures cannot frame out any regulation which clashes with the fundamental rights of a citizen.

So from the above discussion one can say that if the conditions for retirement whether it is compulsory or voluntary or any other service condition which affects the rights of an aged person can be challenged and struck down. Our Apex court has laid down that if a compulsorily retired person has not been provided the reasonable opportunity to defend, the principles of natural justice, the sine-qua-non of every proceeding and the requirements of Article 21, the signature true of Constitution of India have not met with, the retirement order cannot be said to be valid on the touch stone of judicial review.

In the constitution of India, entry 24 in list III of schedule VII deals with the concept of welfare of labour, including condition of work, provident funds, liability for workmen's compensation, invalidity and old age pension scheme etc. Therefore, Union and State both can make separate pension rules to provide social protection and security to the aged. The story does not end here. Our Constitution also empowers the states under the entry no. 42 to frame the laws, rules and schemes separately for the aged. Item No. 9 of the state list and item no. 20, 23 and 24 of concurrent list relate to old age pension, social security, insurance, social and economic planning.

The parameters laid down in the Preamble and the concepts of welfare states are the guiding principles. For security and protection through the means of socio-political-economic justice, the state shall strive to reduce the inequalities in income, status and provide facilities and opportunities. In order to achieve these goals some statutory provisions are provided for the upliftment of aged persons or senior people in every sphere of their lives. Senior Citizen Act is most prominently one of them.

Historical Background of the Maintenance And Welfare of Parents And Senior Citizens Act, 2007
In pursuance of the understanding at International level, the Govt. of India initiated and declared National Policy on Older Persons in 1999. This NPOP recognized certain rights of the aged people and further declared government's responsibilities towards providing economic and social security along with healthcare facilities and protection of life and property of the aged people. In spite of the declaration of said policy in 1999, even after decade no steps were taken to implement it. There was strong and consistent pressure from different organizations, NGOS on the Govt. regarding the implementation of it. This resulted in the passing of the legislation in 2007.

Case Laws
Parent (father or mother whether biological, adoptive or step father or step mother, whether senior citizen or not) or grand-parent who is unable to maintain himself is entitled to claim maintenance from one or more of his adult children (son, daughter, grandson and grand-daughter but does not include a minor). Obligation of the children to maintain their parents extends to such needs of the parents which will allow them to lead a normal life. Additionally, this Act also makes provision for maintenance of childless senior citizens (who has attained the age of sixty years or above) by their relatives. The "relative" means any legal heir of childless senior citizen who is in possession of his property or would inherit it after his death, but it does not include a minor.

If the parents or senior citizens are incapable of applying for monthly allowance for maintenance themselves, in that case, an application can be made through any other person or organization authorized by them. Such an application has to be decided by Maintenance Tribunal within a maximum period of 120 days from the date of service of notice to children/relative. If children/relative fails to comply with the orders of the Tribunal, this may result in imprisonment up to one month. [Section 5].

The Tribunal may order the children/relative to make a monthly allowance at a rate deemed fit by the Tribunal. However, the maximum amount of maintenance cannot exceed Rs 10,000 per month. [Section 9]. The order of maintenance may be altered by the Tribunal on proof of change in circumstances [Section 10].

Shri Kulwant Singh Vs. Dr. Laljee Kent and ors.
Though not directly relevant, the court is mindful that Parliament enacted the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, with a view to providing for senior citizens who are neglected by their children or near relatives; the enactment provides positive rights of claiming maintenance, (by the senior citizens) from those relatives who are likely to inherit their property. Here, the first defendant is the plaintiff's son; it would be a gross understatement to say that he does not 'get along' with his father - a sentiment apparently shared by the other defendants.

They do not say that the plaintiff is not suffering from the ailments stated by him, or that his wife too is suffering, as alleged. They do not say that the plaintiff has other properties, or has filed this suit out of some motive; their case is some right vested because of an oral partition, as the first defendant had given some money to the plaintiff to carry on construction.

Prima facie, it appears that the attempt to keep possession of a part of the ground floor property is to acquire 'leverage' so that in the eventuality of the plaintiff's death, the defendants can consolidate their hold on the property. It is not explained how the living arrangement has crystallized into a property right, based on a vague 'oral' partition of property that was never shared. Partition is only where the ownership is joint, or undivided.

Shadab Khairi & Anr vs.the State & Ors
It must be observed that in instant proceedings, neither the vires of the Act nor the Rules framed there under have been assailed on behalf of the appellants. What is assailed is the competence of the Maintenance Tribunal to render an order of eviction under the Act. LPA7832017 Page 9 Further, it is canvassed that the Act does not contemplate eviction per se. Alternatively, it has been urged that respondent No.3 being possessed of sufficient means and assets was disentitled from maintaining an application seeking maintenance within the meaning of the provisions of the Act.

We do not agree. At the outset, we had elaborated on how beneficial legislation in a welfare State demands a liberal interpretation wide enough to achieve the legislative purpose and be responsive to some urgent social demand in a welfare State. The object for which the Act as well as the subject Rules, extracted hereinabove, were brought into force, namely, for the welfare of parents and senior citizens and for protection of their life and property, leave no manner of doubt that the Maintenance Tribunal constituted under the Act has the power and jurisdiction to render the order of eviction.

The issue framed hereinbefore is, therefore, decided against the appellants. Before parting, it would be incumbent for us to observe that the appellants have failed to show any rights to continue to occupy the subject property against the wishes of respondent No.3, especially when the latter has complained of ill-treatment and harassment at the hands of the former.

Further, whilst exercising extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India, the courts of equity can both refuse or grant relief in furtherance of public interest on considerations of justice, equity and good conscience. LPA7832017 Page 10 23. In view of the foregoing discussion, we are of the considered view that the appeal is bereft any of merit and the same is accordingly dismissed.

The SHO, Police Station-Hauz Qazi is directed to comply with the directions issued by the Maintenance Tribunal and put respondent No.3 in possession of the subject property forthwith.

Analysis
While I went to this act I got to learn alot about it and most importantly about the right of maintenance to thr senior citizens by their children. Theses are some of salient features of this act;

Salient Features of the Act:
This is an unique Act dealing with the issue of senior citizens and having following important feature in it:
  1. This legislation provides for the maintenance of parents and senior citizen. The definition of maintenance covers all necessities and requirements of life.
  2. It also includes childless senior citizen. He can claim maintenance from other relative who is a legal heir of that senior citizen or who is in possession of or would inherit his property after his death.
  3. The State Govt. has to constitute the Tribunal. The Tribunal can take cognizance suo-moto as well as upon receipt of application by senior citizen. So, it's jurisdiction is very wide.
  4. The maximum maintenance allowance may be prescribed by the State Govt. and which shall not exceed Rs. 10,000/- per month.
  5. The person against whom an order is passed has to comply with the order within one month.
  6. In holding inquiry, the Tribunal may follow summary procedure. And it has all the powers of Civil Court.
  7. Copy of the order should be provided to the parents or senior citizen at free of cost.
  8. Appeals are required to be filed within 60 days But appeal can be entertained by the Appellate tribunal beyond this period with sufficient explanation.
  9. State Govt. has to establish and maintain old age homes at least in each district which shall have minimum 150 senior citizens who are indigent. This Act is having provisions for medical care for senior citizens.
  10. A senior citizen who has transferred his property either to his children or any near relative by virtue of a will or gift, can cancel the same by applying to the tribunal, if he/she is neglected or refused to provide basic amenities.
?This Act, bars the jurisdiction of a civil court and further provides that no injunction shall be granted by any Civil Court in respect of anything done or intended to be done by or under this Act.

From the above features it appear that senior citizen is now protected from all sides. After the passing of this enactment, various bills came into force to rectify or improve the existing legislation. Recently another bill comes into being in 2017. Some recommendations are made viz. constitution of National Commission and its functions[13] etc.

Drawbacks And Suggestions: Analysis
The legislative draftsmen have taken a adequate care and caution to protect the rights of old parents and senior citizens. But there are many areas for which the proper and effective implementation cannot be made possible. Some of these are discussed as follow:
  1. First of all maximum monetary relief of Rs. 10,000/- is provided under this Act which is not adequate to the person who is residing in city or who is suffering from any illness where medical expense is huge. Not only that sometimes it appeases that against whom the order is made the person concerned is rich enough to bear more burden. So, this is a great loophole of this Act. It must be amended.
     
  2. Secondly, total exclusion of legal professionals and total exclusion of the jurisdiction of civil court is not at all beneficiary.
The participation of legal professionals must be optional. The old persons who are indigent, can avail the benefits of legal aid.

The Act mentions that Sub-divisional officer is to be presided as the officer of Tribunal, He is already overburdened by his administrative works. Some legal technicalities may arise or some situation may also arise where the presiding officer has to declare any right, title or interest in favour of the aggrieved party, which is beyond the power of an administrative officer.

In those situations the court can handle it more maturity and excellencies. Therefore, total exclusion of court's jurisdiction is not justified.

The Act allows the state Govt. to establish old age homes, it does not make it mandatory.

The Act does not clear the view regarding the taking of responsibility of senior citizens who do not have children or any relative. In that situation whether state will take the burden or not and what will be the extent. If the son is indigent, how can he maintain his parents or grandparents? How would the Tribunal adjudicate such disputes? So all those provisions should be inserted by new amendments.

A situation may arise where parents who have no son but only daughter and they reside with their daughter and son-in-law. Then can Son-in-law be included in the definition of children u/s 2(a) when the daughter is non-earning. The purview of the definition should be wider.

Another point is worthy to mention here that when the son is rich NRI and his parents are living in India what would be international as well as municipal law by which the rich NRI would have no other option to maintain his parents properly. Therefore, these grey areas should be clarified by effective and proper implementations.

According to the provisions of this Act, liability can be imposed on a person who happens to be a relative of that senior citizen on the stipulation that in near future that person will inherit the property of that senior citizen. It is totally unreasonable because there is no guarantee that the said relative will get the property. The senior citizen can sell the property to any other person or he can make any will in favour of any other person before his death. Therefore, change must be there regarding this point.

State Govt. should make provisions for selling up the counseling centers, help lines and organize seminars, programmes to increase confidence among the old persons and to make them aware regarding their rights and the protection available in the statutory provisions.

The legislations, which are beneficiary to the rights of senior citizen and old parents, need more publicity. NGOS, various organizations and Corporate sectors through their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) should play active role to encourage the public participation in this regard.

The senior Citizen Act is passed by the Central Govt. but still it has not been implemented by many states and the states which implement this enactment, they do not pay any heed to redress the present problem with serious efforts.

Whatever may be the laws without effective implementing machinery, the very object cannot be achieved. Senior citizen cells should be established by the state govt. Police patrolling should be intensified in areas to decrease the crimes against elderly persons.

Conclusion
An ageing population is a global phenomenon. Elder persons in society face a number of problems due to the absence of assured and sufficient income to support themselves for their healthcare and other social securities. Loss of a social role and recognition and non-availability of opportunities for creative and effective use of free time are also becoming a matter of great concern for elderly persons.

The trend clearly reveals that ageing will emerge as a major social challenge in the future; and vast resources will be required towards the support, service, care and treatment of the elderly persons, according to report titled - Elderly in India, published in the year 2016.

According to the Population Census 2011, there are nearly 104 million elderly persons (aged 60 years or above) in India; 53 million females and 51 million males.

In 2007, India enacted The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, with a view to ensure need-based maintenance for parents and senior citizens and their welfare. With the demands of these unsung people the Parliament lately but brought a law to listen to there silent plea to protect them and every single citizen whether he is a senior citizen or a child has a right to put in demands in front of the Parliament, and the Parliament has to listen to their silent plea and help them for what they are suffering.

And not only this act but we should also help them, treat them like a family member care for them because they were the ones who take care of us 24x7 when you were ill, they were the ones standing in lines to give you a better school and they were the ones to kill all their wills to fulfill yours.

There was no need of this act if the people ever had this love and affection for them, humanity is diying and so do the morals of the people. But mark these words, "None has ever get away with 'KARMA' because its a devil for bad people and an angel for good people. Every body knows the story of 'Sharavan kumar', have you ever seen anyone like him yet? there's no chance you'll see because people like him are gems and gems are rare.

We live in a society where people post pictures on social media of their parents on mother's day and father's day, but what about the rest of the days?.Posting pictures doesn't show your love, its just you're satisfying yourself and the society but where is the real person in you, have you ever thought that? NO!, Thats the reason why we have this Law in our Country.

If you really love your parents, then make don't post pictures on father's & mother's day only (they dont need likes and comments all they want is your love), do some great things so that for them everday is a father's or a mother's day.

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