Critical Analysis of Senior Citizen Act
- The Maintenance Tribunal are tribunals to seek application from senior citizens or take Suo motto action for maintenance and welfare of senior citizens. It is unclear that creation of Maintenance Tribunal will ensure financial independence of senior citizen or ensure normal life for senior citizens or whether parents will likely to take their children to court to obtain a maintenance allowance from them.
- Oldage Home – The Senior Citizen Act states that the State govt may establish at least one Oldage home in each district but states are not obligated to create these homes.
- Maintenance Tribunal – The Senior Citizen Act states that state govt may establish one or more tribunals in each sub division, it means state govt are not obliged to do so. Also Presiding officer charge is given to SDO who is overloaded with the administration work.
- The use of legal practitioner is prohibited while proceedings but not clearly defined why parties can’t use legal practitioners.
- Definition of Relative – The Act states that every relative who is in possession of or would inherit property after death of senior citizen is obligated for maintenance of such senior citizen. As Wills are changeable, it is not clear how anyone will decide that who will inherit property after death.
- Also bill does not specify needs of parent or senior citizens who do not have either children or property.
- The Act provides that only parent or senior citizen has right to appeal against decision or award of Maintenance Tribunal but there is no right to appeal for Children or relatives against order of Maintenance Tribunal.
- The Maximum fine is only Rs 5000 if children or relative fails to provide monthly allowance. The max punishment of fine Rs 5000 is even less than max payable allowance of Rs 10000, this can be misused by children or relatives.
- The awareness among senior citizens about obligations of children or relatives under this act is still a big challenge before govt for successful implementation of this act as large number of elderly people still not living a normal life.
- The cultural values of Indian society such as special value of elder people in family are deteriorating on large scale due to influence of westernization or due to environment of cost to benefit ratio or senior citizens are just not more than Non Performing assets(NPAs).
- As no parent is take action against his children to get monthly allowance, the govt shall design a better social security system including financial products such as pension schemes and reverse mortgages that enable a senior citizen to live a normal life.
- The Govt shall include harsh provisions against children or relative who fails to provide monthly allowance and repeatedly doing this.
- The Govt shall amend the law to cast obligation on state govt to create Oldage homes not one in district but in every block of a Tehsil of a district. To protect interest of elderly especially for childless or property less senior citizens.
- The govt shall take necessary measures to revive Indian cultural values to respect elders or to create an environment that elderly people are an asset for family/society not just a liability on shoulders of children/relatives/society.