Elders are the backbone of the family, from where the life originates. Bombay High Court recently came up with a judgement in favour of elders and old age persons in the family. It ensured the greedy children do not ill-treat them after getting the share in the ancestral property. The Division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudesai in the Bombay High Court upheld the decision of the tribunal under maintenance of senior citizen to withdraw the gift deed to the son along with 50% share in the flat.
This piece of research brings light upon the judicial approach of the rights of senior citizens under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.
Problems faced by old age people
- Economically unstable, income deficiency;
- Physical and physiological health problems, medical and nutrition deficiency;
- The difficulty in the settlement in a new environment and adjusting with it.
All these problems are internationally concerned and debated. United Nation General Assembly in 1991 adopted 18 new principles, in the clusters of five. They are named as independence, participation, care, self-fulfilment and dignity of the older person. All these principles serve the framework for action on ageing.
Indian Laws and Judicial Approach
In self-fulfilment and the old age, people are always seen with respect and their dignity is protected under many laws and legislations.
Constitution of India
There are provisions covered under DPSP of the constitution of India. Although Article 37 of directive principles are not enforceable by any court of law, it is the state’s responsibility to ensure the applicability of the same. The article included under DPSP is Article 41 and Article 47 of the Constitution of India.
Legal protection under Personal laws
Before the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, there were no specific laws to provide maintenance to elder parents or widows of the deceased property holder.
But, the privy council has considered this issue and gave the judgement in Narayanarao Ramachandra Pant v. Ramabai that, it is the right of the elder/ old aged widow to get the maintenance and share in her husband’s property.
Later, Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 was passed. It was mentioned in Sec 20 (1) that, son and daughter must maintain their old age parents in Hindu families. Along with this, parents are entitled to get the maintenance from their children if they are not capable of maintaining themselves.
In the case K.M Adam v Gopalkrishan, the Supreme Court clarified more on this law by giving judgement that if the child is Hindu, then the parents (both mother and father) can claim the maintenance irrespective of their religions. The drawback of this Act is that it is only applicable to Hindus.
Mulla, a profound writer on this subject matter, says that maintaining the old age parents is the duty of their children in any circumstances, irrespective of the poor financial condition or whether the parents are earning or not. Similarly Tyabji, also a writer, says that children and grandchildren have an obligation to maintain their parents and grandparent even if they are capable of earning their livelihood.
There are no provisions to get maintenance under Parsi and Christian personal laws. But they can claim the maintenance under Sec 125 Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.
On Jan 1993 the government of India had approved the National policy of older persons so that that accurate welfare measures can be taken. It would be beneficial to empower the old age people.
- Ensuring financial security by setting up pension facilities.
- Construction of old age homes and daycare centres.
- 30% concession in train and 50% concession in Indian Airlines for interstate travel.
- Ensure to establish geriatric care in all public hospitals.
- Under Sec 88B and 88D of the Income Tax Act, there is a special discount for elder and old age persons.
- Create awareness and Sensitise school children to take care of elders.
- LIC schemes which provide several benefits.
- Government policy also promotes the settlement though pension, Provident funds and gratuity to save the hardship of the person.
This article critically analyses the relevant laws and types of complaints lodged by elderly parents at Maintenance tribunal. The type of intergenerational disputes and also the method they’re handled by the tribunals highlights law’s inability to imagine a world of wants with the economical wants of survival. Despite a couple of positive measures, the law presently falls wanting deciphering the social ‘needs’ of belongingness, holding authority and a footing of importance within the family, a collection of wants that usually stay unspoken and area unit thus forgotten by the law’s agent.
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