Centre Proposes 6-Month Jail Term for Abandoning Elderly Parents
The Centre has proposed to enhance the jail term for those found abandoning or abusing their parents, 60 years or older, to six months from the existing three months. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has drafted the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Draft Bill, 2018, that will amend the 2007 version of the legislation to expand its scope and provide for more stringent penalties.
The Bill expands the definition of children, which currently refers to only biological children and grandchildren, to include daughter-in-law and son-in-law and also adopted/step-children.
It extends the definition of maintenance beyond provision of food, clothing, housing, health care to include “safety and security” of the parent. Senior citizens can approach a Maintenance Tribunal in case their children neglect or refuse to maintain them.
“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.
The Act currently provides an upper limit of Rs 10,000 per month as maintenance amount.