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Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007

Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007

The Act

Extent And Commencement

  1. This Act may be called the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007
  2. It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir, while Himachal Pradesh has its own Act for Senior Citizens. It applies also to citizens of India outside India.
  3. It shall come into force in a State on such date as the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazelle, appoint.

Definitions

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires -

  • "children" includes son, daughter, grandson and grand-daughter but does not include a minor "maintenance" includes provision for food, clothing, residence and medical attendance and treatment "minor" means a person who, under the provisions of the Majority Act, 1875 is deemed not to have attained the age of majority
  • "parent" means father or mother whether biological, adoptive or step father or step mother, as the case may be, whether or not the father or the mother is a senior citizen
  • "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made by the Stale Government under this Act
  • "property" means property of any kind, whether movable or immovable, ancestral or self acquired, tangible or intangible and includes rights or interests in such property
  • "relative" means any legal heir of the childless senior citizen who is not a minor and is in possession of or would inherit his property after his death
  • "senior citizen" means any person being a citizen of India, who has attained the age of sixty years or above
  • "State Government";, in relation to a Union territory, means the administrator thereof appointed under article 239 of ihc Constitution
  • "Tribunal" means the Maintenance Tribunal constituted under section 7
  • "welfare" means provision for food, health care, recreation centres and other amenities necessary for the senior citizens

Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizens

  1. A senior citizen including parent who is unable to maintain himself from his own earning or property owned by him, shall be entitled to make an application under section 5 in case of -
    • Parent or grand-parent, against one or more of his children not being a minor
    • A childless senior citizen, against such of his relative referred to in clause (g) of section 2
  2. The obligation of the children or relative, as the case may be, to maintain a senior citizen extends to the needs of such citizen so that senior citizen may lead a normal life.
  3. The obligation of the children to maintain his or her parent extends to the needs of such parent either father or mother or both, as the case may be, so that such parent may lead a normal life.
  4. Any person being a relative of a senior citizen and having sufficient means shall maintain such senior citizen provided he is in possession of the property of such senior citizen or he would inherit the property of such senior citizen:

Provided that where more than one relatives are entitled to inherit the property of a senior citizen, the maintenance shall be payable by such relative in the proportion in which they would inherit his property.

Jurisdiction and Procedure

  1. The proceedings under section 5 may be taken against any children or relative in any district -
    • where he resides or last resided, or
    • where children or relative resides.
  2. On receipt of the application under section 5, the Tribunal shall issue a process for procuring the presence of children or relative against whom the application is filed.
  3. For securing the attendance of children or relative the Tribunal shall have the power of a Judicial Magistrate of first class as provided under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
  4. All evidence to such proceedings shall be taken in the presence of the children or relative against whom an order for payment of maintenance is proposed to be made, and shall be recorded in the manner prescribed for summons cases: Provided that if the Tribunal is satisfied that the children or relative against whom an order for payment of maintenance is proposed to be made is wilfully avoiding service, or wilfully neglecting to attend the Tribunal, the Tribunal may proceed to hear and determine the case ex parte
  5. Where the children or relative is residing out of India, the summons shall be served by the Tribunal through such authority, as the Central Government may by notification in the official Gazette, specify in this behalf.
  6. The Tribunal before hearing an application under section 5 may,. refer the same to a Conciliation Officer and such Conciliation Officer shall submit his findings within one month and if amicable settlement has been arrived at, the Tribunal shall pass an order to that effect.

Explanation - For the purposes of this sub-section "Conciliation Officer" means any person or representative of an organisation referred to in Explanation to sub-section(1) of section 5 or the Maintenance Officers designated by the State Government under subsection (1) of section 18 or any other person nominated by the Tribunal for this purpose.

Power of State Government to make rules

  1. The State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make rules for carrying out the purposes of this Act.
  2. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for –
    • The manner of holding inquiry under section 5 subject to such rules as may be prescribed under sub-section (1) of section 8;
    • The power and procedure of the Tribunal for other purposes under subsection (2) of section 8.
    • The maximum maintenance allowance which may be ordered by the Tribunal under sub-section (2) of section 9;
    • The scheme for management of old age homes, including the standards and various types of services to be provided by them which are necessary for medical care and means of entertainment to the inhabitants of such homes under sub-section {2) of section 19;
    • The powers and duties of the authorities for implementing the provisions of this Act. under sub-section (1) of section 22;
    • A comprehensive action plan for providing protection of life and property of senior citizens under sub-section (2) of section 22;
    • Any other matter which is to be, or may be, prescribed
  3. Every rule made under this Act shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of State Legislature, where it consists of two Houses or where such legislature consists of one House, before that House.

For More Information visit : Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007

FAQs on the Act

Do I have a right to maintenance under this law? From whom can I claim maintenance?

If you are:

  • a senior citizen (above the age of 60); and
  • are not able to take care of yourself properly from your earnings or your property.

You can file a maintenance application against:

  • your children (who are above the age of 18); or
  • your grandchildren (who are above the age of 18); or
  • if you do not have children, your relatives (who are above the age of 18 and who are using your property or will inherit your property).

If you are a senior citizen without children, the relatives against whom you can file a petition will generally depend on the religious law applicable to you. It could be your siblings, your parents or nieces and nephews.

I have executed an agreement with a friend for provision of maintenance. Can I approach the maintenance tribunal if this is not being honoured?

It is possible that you made alternate arrangements for taking care of yourself in your old age. Given that you are not able to take care of your family estate, you might have transferred the property to a friend or sold it with a provision for you to receive maintenance.

If you have executed an agreement to transfer your property to someone (say through a gift deed) with the condition that your basic needs will be taken care of, and your friend does not honour this, you can apply to the maintenance tribunal for help. The court can pass an order declaring that the agreement is invalid and you will be the legal owner of the property again.

In another situation, say you have the right to receive maintenance out of the proceeds of a property.  If this property is later sold to someone else who knew you had such right or if this property is gifted or willed away, you have a right to claim maintenance against the person who now owns the property.

I am an adoptive parent. Can I still file a maintenance application if I am not able to take care of myself?

Yes, you can. The law does not distinguish between birth parents and adoptive or step parents. The duty on children to support parents includes adoptive parents and step parents. So you can file an application against your adopted child or step child for maintenance.

Where do I go to make a maintenance application?

You can file an application in a maintenance tribunal under this law.

  • The maintenance tribunal is a special court set up under this law. 24 states and 6 union territories have set up appellate tribunals. They are Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttrakhand, West Bengal, Sikkim and Tripura. The State Government of Uttar Pradesh and Mizoram have not constituted Appellate Tribunals so far. All the Union Territories, except Lakshdweep, have constituted the Appellate Tribunals.
  • Maintenance tribunals have to be set up by state governments in each sub-division.
  • This court has the powers of a normal civil court and can issue summons.

Area in which you can file the application

  • You can file an application in the maintenance tribunal in the area where you live currently or have lived in the past or where your children or relatives live.
  • You cannot file an application for maintenance under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (which also gives you the right) and under this law. Please remember that there is no cap on the amount of monthly maintenance you can seek under the Code. However, it could be a lengthier process.

Process:

  • After you have filed an application (formats will vary from state to state), the court will first notify your children and tell them that you have filed such an application.
  • In the next stage, the court can decide to refer the case to a Conciliation Officer who will then try to get the parties to agree to a friendly settlement.
  • If the court does not refer the case, it will listen to both parties (the parents and the children or relatives).
  • The court will conduct an inquiry to figure out how much maintenance you need to be paid. An inquiry is not a full blown legal proceeding. Even though the law does not allow for representation by lawyers in these courts, there are High court judgments which have held that this right of lawyers cannot be restricted.
  • Even though this court is slightly informal in nature, it has the powers of a civil court and can order attendance of witnesses, take evidence on oath etc.
  • If the court finds that the children or relatives are neglecting to take care of the parents, they can pass an order directing them to pay a monthly maintenance. The court can also order that interest (between 5% and 8%) be paid on the maintenance amount from the date of the application.
  • If your children or parents are not paying the maintenance even after the court order, you can go to any similar court (maintenance tribunal) and ask for help in enforcing the order.

What is the amount of maintenance I can ask for?

As a senior citizen without children, you can ask for enough maintenance to live a normal life. However, there is a general limit of Rupees 10,000 per month. State governments can impose a lesser limit. Please check the rules passed by the state government under this law.

Can my child choose to provide maintenance for me and not my wife?

No, your child has an obligation to maintain both parents. Both you and your wife have a right to live a normal life if you are not able to maintain yourself.

I am old and unable to visit the court. Can I authorize someone else to make an application on my behalf?

As a senior citizen or parent, you can make an application for maintenance yourself. However, if you are incapable of making an application, you can authorize someone else or an organization to make the application on your behalf.

Sometimes, the special court set up for this law can take up cases on its own.

Can I get any maintenance while the case is going on?

Yes, you can make an application to the court to order your children or relatives to pay you temporary maintenance (on a monthly basis).

The court has to decide on whether you can get temporary maintenance within 90 days of informing your children or relatives of your application. In special circumstances, they can delay this for some more time (i.e. 30 days).

This is not the final maintenance you can expect to get. The court may decide not to give you maintenance at all, or may decide to increase or decrease the amount of maintenance in the final order.

Can I file a maintenance application against more than one child or relative?

Yes you can. As a parent, you can file your maintenance application against all your children. All of them have a duty to maintain you.

As a senior citizen (without children), you can file your maintenance application against any or all relatives who possess or will inherit your property. If there is more than one such relative, each relative is supposed to pay maintenance in proportion to the property that they will inherit from you.

If my parents have filed a maintenance application against me, can I also involve my brother?

Yes, if you have siblings or other relatives who are legally supposed to maintain your parents/ senior citizen, you can file an application to get them involved in the case.

One of my children passed away after she had been ordered to pay maintenance. Are the other children allowed to stop paying me maintenance?

No, once a court has passed a maintenance order against your children or relatives, they have to follow it. The death of any one of your children or relatives cannot be used as an excuse. The other children or relatives will have to continue paying you maintenance.

What happens if my children do not follow the maintenance orders of the court?

You can make an application to any maintenance tribunal within 3 months of them not paying. The court can impose a fine on the children for the maintenance amount and expenses of the proceedings. The children can also be punished with jail time of up to one month. If they pay up before the end of the jail time, they will be released.

If I am unhappy with the maintenance order, what can I do?

  • You have the right to appeal if you are a senior citizen who is unhappy with the order. According to the law, as a child or relative against whom an order has been passed, you do not have the right to appeal. However, certain high courts have held that the right to appeal is available to both parties.
  • You can appeal to the higher or more superior court known as the ‘Appellate Tribunal’. Meanwhile, the children have to comply with the maintenance order.
  • You should file this appeal within 60 days of the order from the maintenance tribunal.

What is the punishment for abandoning senior citizens?

If you leave a senior citizen at some place with the intention of abandoning them and not taking care of them, you can be punished with jail time of up to three months and/or a fine of up to Rupees five thousand. The police can make an arrest without the permission of a court. However, this is a bailable crime. If you are able to pay the bail bond, you will be released.

Is there anything else I should know?

  • If you are a senior citizen and have filed a maintenance application under this law, you can ask for the help of the government appointed 'Maintenance Officer’.
  • The State Governments have a duty to set up old age homes in each district for senior citizens who are unable to support themselves. This is to be implemented in a phased manner.
  • The State Governments have a duty to provide medical support to senior citizens in government aided hospitals, providing treatment for chronic and terminal diseases and arrange separate queues for them.
Source: Nyaaya


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