January 1, 2010

INDIA: NGO demands implementation of Law to protect Senior Citizens

. MUMBAI, Maharashtra / Ground Report / January 1, 2010 By Sailesh Mishra Some of India's elderly have home and care provided in organised old age homes run by non-government organisations. Photo credit: HarmonyIndia Traditional norms and values of the Indian society provided care for the elderly. The withering joint family system finds a large number of elderly not being looked after by their family. Consequently, many older persons and widowed women now spend their twilight years alone and are exposed to emotional neglect, lack of physical and financial support. Ageing has become a major social challenge in India. Though parents can claim maintenance under the Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Act and Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, the procedure is time-consuming and expensive. Therefore the need to have simple, inexpensive and speedy provisions to claim maintenance for parents. India's parliament felt that elderly and senior citizens require care and protection. It adopted the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 in December 2007 stipulating governments of the Indian federation constitute maintenance tribunal within six weeks of enforcement of the Act. The act lays down provision of a monthly maintenance of upto Rs.10,000, punishment of Rs.5000 or imprisonment for three months or both for non-payment of the monthly allowance by children's or relative. The act has also put a 90 days time limit for disposal of an appeal to resolve disputes between parents and children. Also provided in the act are medical facility, protection of life and property, old age homes in every districts etc. Only 11 states of India - Nagaland, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Assam, Kerala, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Orissa - have so far initiated adoption of the act. Some have yet to form the tribunals to implement the Act. Major states like Maharashtra have neglected the cause of Senior Citizens. Silver Inning Foundation, an NGO working with Senior Citizens has demanded Maharashtra and all state government to immediately implement the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 and constitute 'maintenance tribunals' to hear and decide the grievances of the senior citizens. If any state government refuses or delays this process then Supreme Court and High Court should take action against such government for protection of constitutional and human rights of Senor Citizens. Justice delayed is Justice denied, the NGO feels. On this new year, January 1, 2010 let us take a pledge to protect our Elderly and make this “My World… Your World…" [rc] Source: Ground Report