Highlights of Senior Citizen Act (Part 1)
The structure of Indian society is rapidly changing from concept of joint family system to single family system under large influence of westernization. As value of elderly people is diminishing in the family due to withering of joint family system, the Senior Citizen Act is an essential step by govt to take promptly actions or measures such as legal action against legal heirs of senior citizen or to establish Oldage homes etc. for care & protection of senior citizens. The Senior Citizen bill is passed by both houses in Dec 2007.
Definitions (Section 2)
- ‘Children’ – son, daughter, grandson and granddaughter but doesn’t include a minor.
- ‘Relative’ – legal heir of childless senior citizen who is not a minor and is in possession of or would inherit property of senior citizen after death.
Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizens
Rights of Senior Citizens and Parents (Section 4-6)
- The Children are obligated for maintenance of his or her parents so that such parent either father or mother or both may lives a normal life.
- Any person being a relative of senior citizen having sufficient means shall maintain such senior citizen provided that maintenance shall be payable by such relative in the proportion in which they would inherit his or her property.
- A senior citizen or parent, who is unable to maintain himself from his own earnings or property owned by him, shall be entitled to make an application against above obligations to Maintenance Tribunal.
- The application can be made by senior citizen himself or by some other person authorized by him or the Tribunal can take Suo motto action.
Maintenance Tribunal (Section 7-14)
- On receipt of an application related to monthly expenses from senior citizens, the Tribunal can order such children or relatives, after giving due opportunity, to pay monthly expenses as decided by Tribunal after an inquiry from children or relatives. As far as possible, application shall be disposed of within 90 days.
- The Tribunal can order children or relative to make such monthly allowance (as decided by Tribunal) as interim maintenance to parent or senior citizen during pendency of the proceedings.
- If any person fails to comply with the order then Tribunal may issue warrant against such person to pay unpaid amount with fine and may order for sentence of imprisonment up to 1 month or until paid whichever is earlier.
- The State govt may constitute one or more Maintenance Tribunal for each sub-division for purpose of maintenance of senior citizens and officer presided over tribunal shall not be below rank of Sub Divisional Officer of a state.
- The Tribunal has all powers of a Civil Court in matters such as evidence on oath, enforcing attendance of witnesses etc. and subject to rules made by state govt to holding an inquiry under this act.
- The Tribunal may order to children/relatives for such amount of monthly allowance for maintenance of senior citizen as deems fit but that amount shall not exceed 10000/month in any case.
- The Tribunal can make change/alteration in amount of maintenance as deems fit. The Children/relatives shall pay the ordered maintenance amount within 30 days of date of order and continue thereafter in case of monthly allowances.
- In case of delays, the Tribunal can levy simple interest on maintenance amount which shall not be less than 5% and more than 18%.