Discuss the provisions of The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was approved by the Union Cabinet which removed the cap of Rs 10,000 on the maximum monthly allowance permissible. The bill will amend The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007. 

The Bill provides for appointment of nodal police officers for senior citizens in every police station and also creates a special police unit for senior citizens at the district level.

Key features of the Bill – 

  • Children and heirs were legally obligated to provide maintenance to senior citizens.
  • State governments were permitted to establish old age homes in every district.
  • Senior citizens who are unable to maintain themselves, were given the right to apply to a maintenance tribunal seeking a monthly allowance from their children or heirs.
  • State governments were to set up maintenance tribunals in every subdivision to decide the level of maintenance. Appellate tribunals were to be established at the district level.
  • State governments were to set the ceiling for the maximum monthly maintenance allowance. The Bill capped the maximum monthly allowance at Rs 10,000 per month.
  • Punishment for not paying the required monthly allowance was fixed at Rs 5,000, or up to three months in prison, or both.

Proposed changes – 

Major salient features of the proposed Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Amendment Bill are as follows – 

(i) The definition of ‘children’ and ‘parents’ has been expanded.

(ii) The definition of ‘maintenance’ and ‘welfare’ has been expanded.

(iii) The mode of submission of application for maintenance has been enlarged.

(iv) The ceiling of Rs 10,000/- as maintenance amount has been removed.

(v) Preference to dispose of applications of senior citizens, above eighty years of age, early has been included.

(vi) Registration of Senior Citizens Care Homes/Homecare Service Agencies etc. have been included.

(vii) Minimum standards for senior citizen care homes has been included in the Bill.

(viii) Appointment of Nodal Police Officers for Senior Citizens in every Police Station and District level Special Police Unit for Senior Citizens has been included.

(ix) Maintenance of Helpline for senior citizens has been included. 

(x) The definition of children, which currently refers to only biological children and grandchildren has been expanded to include daughter-in-law and son-in-law, and also adopted and/or stepchildren.

(xi) It also extends the definition of maintenance beyond merely the provision of food, clothing, housing, and healthcare, and to include “safety and security” of the parent.

Published: December 5, 2019 | Modified:October 15, 2020

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