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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.
The application for maintenance may be made under section 4 of the act to the tribunal either by:
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.
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.
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.