Those found abusing or abandoning their parents could be in for some strict punishments, including an enhanced jail term of six months, if the Narendra Modi government has its way.
Those found abusing or abandoning their parents could be in for some strict punishments, including an enhanced jail term of six months, if the Narendra Modi government has its way. The Centre on Wednesday proposed to amend the existing Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 to extend its scope and ensure that the basic needs of senior citizens are met. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has drafted the new bill, titled The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Draft bill, 2018.
The new draft bill suggests strengthening the punishment for those found guilty of abusing and abandoning their parents at old age. The draft bill has also proposes to enhance the jail term from the existing three months to six months for the offence.
The draft bill also changed the definition of children. As per the amendment one, the ‘Children’ include son or daughter (all biological, adopted or step), son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandson, granddaughter and a minor.
The bill has also changed the definition of ‘Maintenance’. Now, it includes provision for food, clothing, medical attendance, treatment, safety, housing and security.
It also extends the definition of ‘relative’. It will now include any legal heir of the childless senior citizen who is not a minor and is about to inherit the property after death. “Relative means any legal heir of the childless senior citizen(s) who is not a minor and is in possession of or would inherit his/her property after his/her death,” said the statement.
“In such cases, the draft Bill states that the tribunal can order the children or, in case the person is childless, the relative to pay a monthly maintenance to the senior citizen. The amount would be decided by taking into account the standard of living of the senior citizen and the financial situation of both the parties,” said a ministry official to IE.
The draft bill also proposes to make the maintenance amount variable as those individuals earning more salary or amount have to provide a higher amount for the maintenance of their parents. If an individual failed to provide the amount then he/ she have to face a punishment of one-month imprisonment. Currently, the upper limit of maintenance amount is Rs 10,000 a month.
The official also told the IE that if the bill gets passed from the Parliament, then it will require the government to establish and run at least one Senior Citizen Care Home in every district in the country.
The bill mandates the uniform age across all government and private schemes for insurance, health, housing and travel should be 60 years.
The bill also mandates that if the children or legal heir failed to provide support to their parents then the transfer of property will be deemed as “made by fraud or coercion or under the undue influence”. In such circumstances, the tribunal can order it to be transferred back to the parent or guardian.