Maintenance of Parents and Senior citizen is the responsibility of very person. In India the uncared senior citizens including parents who are unable to maintain themselves from their own resources or are abandoned by their children, can get the relief under an Act known as The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act. Under this Act, children and property heirs must take care of the maintenance of their parents/senior citizens. The purpose of enacting this Act was to fulfill the gaps in Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 has limited provision for maintenance of parents only and is silent on welfare measures. Whereas the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior citizen Act 2007, has provisions for maintenance and also look after the welfare of parents and senior citizens. It is a comprehensive Act. It has a broader scope and is not limited to the sphere of parent-child relationship only. The Act holds the State responsible for the implementation of welfare measures for senior citizen.
By bringing out the Maintenance and Welfare of parents and citizens Act, the Government has taken a small 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. We should always keep in mind that who took care of us in their youth and helped us to grow, we owe them a better tomorrow.
The act extends to the whole of India except the Sate of Jammu and Kashmir and it applies also to citizens of India outside India.
Ø A senior citizen includes parents who are unable to maintain themselves through their own earnings or out of their own property, may apply for maintenance from their adult children or any legal heir (who is in possession of or is likely to inherit their property) of the childless senior citizen. This maintenance includes the provision of proper food, shelter, clothing and medical treatment.
Ø Parents include biological, adoptive and step mothers and fathers, whether senior citizens or not.
JURISDICTION FOR FILING APPLICATION FOR MAINTENANCE
The proceedings under the provision of the Act may be taken against any children or relative in any district:-
a. where the senior citizen or parent resides or last resided;
b. where children or relative resides.
o When a maintenance order is made under this Act, the children or relative who is required to pay must deposit the entire amount in such manner as the Tribunal, within thirty days of the date of announcing the order by the Tribunal.
o Where any Tribunal makes an order for maintenance under this Act, such Tribunal may also direct that in addition to the amount of maintenance, simple interest to be paid at such rate and from such date not earlier than the date of making the application, which can not be less than five per cent, and not more than eighteen per cent.
Ø Any senior citizen or a parent, who gets aggrieved by the order of the Tribunal can prefer an appeal at the Appellate Tribunal within sixty days from the date of the order.
Ø The Appellate Tribunal after examining the appeal and the records called for may either allow or reject the appeal.
Ø The Appellate Tribunal adjudicate and decide upon the appeal filed against the order of the Tribunal and the order of the Appellate Tribunal is the final.
No appeal shall be rejected unless an opportunity has been given to both the parties of being heard in person or through a duly authorised representative.
As per the provision of the Act, a senior citizen can seek to revoke any property, which has been transferred in favour of children/relative on the condition that such children/relative would provide maintenance to him but are not providing the same. The tribunals are empowered to declare such transfers as void on the applications of such parent.
OFFENCES AND PROCEDURE FOR TRIAL
Ø Exposure and abandonment of senior citizen :
Erring persons are punishable with imprisonment up to three months or a fine of up to rupees five thousand or with both.
Ø Cognizance of offences :
(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure,
1973, (2 of 1974) every offence under this Act shall be cognizable and
(2) An offence under this Act shall be tried summarily by a Magistrate.
PROVISIONS FOR MEDICAL CARE OF SENIOR CITIZEN
The Act provides that the State Government shall ensure : -
· the Government hospitals or hospitals funded fully or partially by the Government shall provide beds for all senior citizens as far as possible;
· separate queues be arranged for senior citizens;
· facility for treatment of chronic, terminal and degenerative diseases is expanded for senior citizens;
· research activities for chronic elderly diseases and ageing is expanded;
· there are earmarked facilities for geriatric patients in every district hospital duly headed by a medical officer with experience in geriatric care.
Ongoing transition in the families today as a result of changes in the cultural contours in the society has posed several challenges to the elderly care in the society. There is crisis in the institution of family, which carries special significance to the care of elderly people. The State Government is required to set up one or more tribunals in every sub-division. It sholud also set up Appellate Tribunals in every district to hear the appeals of Senior Citizens against the decision of the Tribunals. State Governments should set up at least one Old Age Home for every 150 beneficiaries in a district. These homes are to provide Senior Citizens with minimum facilities such as food, clothing and recreational activities. All Government hospitals or those funded by the Government must provide beds for Senior Citizens as far as possible. Also, special queues to access medical facilities should be arranged for them.