Introduction and Purpose
Indeed the needs of the senior citizens are very minimal, and sometimes the children and the relatives may fail to provide for them. As a result of which the government has introduced the Maintenance of Welfare of Children and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. The act provides efficient provisions for the maintenance and welfare of the senior citizen. These right are guaranteed and recognised under the Indian constitution and are now further reaffirmed by this legislature.
Who can apply for Maintenance?
The application for maintenance may be made under section 4 of the act to the tribunal either by:
- The parent/senior citizen; or
- In case they are incapable of doing so, any voluntary association registered under The Societies Registration Act 1860 or any other law may appeal on their behalf.
- By the tribunal on its own motion.
- Parties against whom the application can be filed:
The application may be filed against one or more persons, which include child/relative or any other concerned parties. For the purpose of the act ‘Relative’ would mean any legal heir of a childless senior citizen who is not a minor.
Extent of Liability
The obligation of the children/relative to maintain the senior citizen/parent shall extend to the needs being met in such a manner that they can lead a healthy life. The primary condition for providing maintenance is the possession/inheritance of the property of the senior citizen/parent by the children/relative.
In case more than one relative inherits the property, then the maintenance shall be borne proportionately. Death of one of the relatives shall not affect the liability of the others to pay.
- The tribunal shall hold an enquiry to determine the amount of maintenance after giving notice to the children/relative and also providing them with an opportunity of being heard.
- The tribunal may pass an order for interim maintenance during the pendency of the proceedings.
- All evidence to the proceedings shall be taken in the presence of the children/relative against whom the complaint is filed. In the event of the children/relative willfully avoiding service/willfully neglecting to attend the tribunal, the tribunal may proceed to hear the case ex parte.
- If the children/relative is residing out of India, the notice shall be served through such authority as the Central Government may provide.
- Before hearing an application for maintenance, the matter may be referred to a conciliation officer who shall submit his application within one month.
- If an amicable settlement has been arrived at, the tribunal shall pass an order accordingly.
- When a parent/senior citizen is entitled to maintenance under Chapter IX of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 as well as this act, the maintenance shall be provided only under one act and not both.
Criteria Of the Amount Payable
- The amount of maintenance shall be payable from the date of the order or from the date of application as may be ordered.
- The tribunal may direct that in addition to the maintenance, interest shall be paid at the rate of 5% minimum and a maximum of 18%.
The maximum amount of maintenance payable shall be INR 10000 per month.
- Alteration in the allowance may be done under the following circumstances:
–Mistake of fact
–Change in the circumstances
By way of a notification in the Official Gazette, the State Government shall constitute an Appellate Tribunal for each district. Any appeal against the order passed by the tribunal shall be filed with the Appellate Tribunal.
The application for interim maintenance shall be disposed within ninety days from the date of the service of notice to the children/relative. Under exceptional circumstances, a thirty-day extension may be allowed.
The children/relative who is required to pay the maintenance shall, within thirty days of the date of the order by the tribunal, deposit the entire amount.
If the children/relative fails to pay the due amount within a period of three months, a warrant may be issued by the tribunal for the imprisonment of the defaulter. Such imprisonment may extend to one month or until payment is made whichever is earlier.
For the abandonment of a senior citizen, their caregiver can be fined or imprisonment or both. The fine may extend to Rs 5000, and the imprisonment may extend to three months.
Since the implementation of the act, many senior citizens have been given the proper care they deserve. Therefore, the law has helped reinforce the fundamental rights of children and senior citizens.