Senior Citizen Act: An act to protect senior citizens

The Maintenace and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act 2007 is popularly known as the Senior Citizen Act. It got enacted in the year 2007. The legislation aims to provide adequate maintenance and effective welfare to old parents and senior citizens.

So, the Act made it a legal obligation on adult children and heirs to provide a monthly allowance for parents. The act provided inexpensive and speedy procedures to claim monthly maintenance for parents and senior citizens.

The act also makes it necessary for the children and relatives of senior citizens to maintain their parents and grandparents. So, it lays down provisions to protect the life and property of senior citizens.

Definitions Under Senior citizen act

Some of the definitions under the Senior Citizen Act, 2007 include:

  • Children: Section 2(a) defines Children. The Children mean and include son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, and a minor is not a child.
  • Maintenance: Section 2(b) defines maintenance. Maintenance includes food, clothing, residence and medical attendance and treatment of Senior citizens.
  • Minor: Section 2(c) defines minor. A minor has not attained the age of majority.
  • Parent: Section 2(d) defines parent. A parent means father, mother, biological, adoptive father or mother irrespective of whether the father or mother are senior citizens.
  • Property: Section 2(f) defines the property. Property means any property movable, immovable, ancestral, self-acquired, tangible, intangible and includes rights or interest within the ambit of the definition of property.
  • Relative: Section 2(g) defines Relative. Relative refers to any legal heir of the childless senior citizen not being a minor. The person who has possession of the property or would inherit the property after the death of a senior citizen is a relative.
  • Senior Citizen: Section 2(h) of the Senior Citizen Act defines Senior Citizen. Senior citizen refers to any person who has attained sixty years of age.
  • Welfare: Section 2(k) of the Senior Citizen Act defines welfare. Welfare means food, health care, recreation centres and necessary amenities for senior citizens.

Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizen

A senior citizen unable to maintain himself from his earnings or the property he owns can receive maintenance under Section 5 of the Senior Citizen Act.

It becomes the duty of the children, grandchildren or relatives to maintain senior citizens or parents to fulfil their needs. A relative has to pay maintenance if he has possession or will inherit the senior citizen’s property.

If more than one relative is entitled to inherit the senior citizen’s property, the maintenance gets payable in the proportion they will inherit the property.

If they don’t take care of the senior citizen, senior citizens have the right to seek assistance from the Tribunal. The claim is raised regarding a maintenance or any other relief.

Application for maintenance

Section 5 of the senior citizen act deals with the application for maintenance, and section 6 deals with jurisdiction and procedure.

Under Section 5, the senior citizen can file the application himself. But, when the senior citizen is incapable of applying, any other person or organisation authorised by the senior citizen can file the application. The tribunal can also take the suo moto cognisance.

After receiving an application from the senior citizen, the Tribunal issues a notice to the respondent and provide respondent time to furnish their reply. The application for maintenance gets disposed of within 90 days from the date of service of notice to the respondent. The Tribunal can extend the time for a maximum of 30 days only after recording the reason. The tribunal has the power to allow interim maintenance.

When the application is filed for any one of the children or relatives, the relative or children can implead other persons liable to pay maintenance. Under section 5 of the Act, the proceedings are held where the children or relative resides or last resided.

Constitution of Tribunal

Section 7 of the provides the constitution of the maintenance tribunal. The tribunal is presided by the officer who is not below the rank of Sub-Divisional Officer of the state. When there are two or more tribunals for any area, State Government regulates the distribution of work among that area.

Rights of Senior Citizen under Maintenance and Welfare of Senior Citizen Act, 2007

The rights of a senior citizen under the Senior Citizen Act are as follows:

  • A childless senior citizen can claim maintenance from any relative who would inherit his property.
  • The state government has to constitute a tribunal to hear the case regarding maintenance.
  • The State Government specifies the maximum maintenance that can be allowed. The amount of maintenance should not exceed the amount of Rs. 10000/- per month.
  • If a person defaults in payment of the maintenance, he should be liable for imprisonment as per the provision of the Senior Citizen Act.
  • A senior citizen has the right to cancel the transfer of his property by will or gift.
  • A legal practitioner is not required to represent any party before a maintenance tribunal or appellate tribunal.
  • The Senior Citizen Act provides the establishment of at least one old age home in every district. Such old age homes should have the capacity to shelter 150 senior citizens.

Establishment of Old Age Homes

Section 19 of the Senior Citizen Act deals with the establishment of old age homes, and according to this section, the state government must establish at least one old age home in one district. The old age home should be made to accommodate one hundred fifty senior citizens.

The State Government can prescribe schemes for managing old age homes, including the standards and types of services provided by the old age homes. The services include medical care and means of entertainment.

Medical Support for Senior Citizen

Section 20 of the Senior Citizen Act provides provision for Medical Support for Senior citizens.

According to this Section, the State Government should ensure that:

  • The fully or partially funded hospitals by the state government should be provided with beds for senior citizens.
  • There should be separate queues for the senior citizen.
  • Facility for treating chronic, terminal and degenerative disease gets provided for the senior citizen.
  • The research for chronic elderly diseases and ageing gets expanded.
  • There are facilities for geriatric patients in every district hospital. The hospital gets headed by a medical officer with experience in geriatric care.

Protection and authorities

Section 22 of the Senior Citizen Act states that the State Government confer powers and impose duties on District Magistrate. The State Government should ensure the proper execution of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act provisions.

The District Magistrate has the power to specify the officer subordinate to him. The person subordinate to him can exercise power and perform the duties conferred to him and the local limits within which the officer carries the powers or duties as prescribed.

The State Government prescribes the plan to protect the life and property of the senior citizen.

If a senior citizen has transferred the property (i.e. movable or immovable) after the commencement of the Senior Citizen Act in the form of gift or any other way where the condition is such that the transferee provides the basic amenities and physical needs to the senior citizen.

If the transferee refuses or fails to provide basic amenities to the senior citizen, the tribunal can declare such transfer void under section 23 of the Senior Citizen Act.

Conclusion

Senior Citizen Act is umbrella legislation that covers all the aspects that get required for senior citizens. The Act protects the rights of a senior citizen and the duties of the children or relatives. The act made it necessary for the relatives to take care of the basic facilities of the senior citizen like food, healthcare, and clothing. The act provides efficient provision for the maintenance of the senior citizen. Though, these provisions were somehow already present in the Constitution of India. after the enactment of the Senior Citizen Act, the provisions got a legislative framework.

FAQs regarding the senior act

Who is a senior citizen?

According to section 2(h) of the Senior Citizen Act, 2007, senior citizen means anyone who has attained sixty years of age.

What is the minimum age of senior citizens in India as prescribed by the Maintenance and Welfare of the Parents and Senior Citizen Act, 2007?

The Maintenance and Welfare of the Parents and Senior Citizen Act, 2007, provides the minimum age of senior citizens to be sixty-six years.

Who can make an application for maintenance under Senior Citizen Act?

The following person can make an application under the Senior Citizen Act, 2007 to claim maintenance under Section 5:

  • By senior citizens or parents
  • If senior citizens or parents are incapable, then the person or organisation authorised by senior citizens
  • Suo motto cognisance by the Tribunal

What is the number of mandatory Old age homes in every district?

Section 19 of the Senior Citizen Act provides that every district should have at least one old age home with a capacity minimum of 150 senior citizens.

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