21 July 2010
Senior citizens can approach special tribunals to claim maintenance from their kids
With the notification of new rules for the welfare of senior citizens, elderly people ill–treated or abandoned by their kin can now seek maintenance from children or blood relations at special tribunals.
The state government notified the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Rules, 2010 on June 23. Apart from setting up tribunals that will award maintenance to senior citizens, the rules also lay down guidelines for the police to protect the life and property of senior citizens.
The primary aim of the new rules is to provide the elderly the right to claim maintenance from blood relations as defined by the rules. These relations include sons, daughters, sisters and brothers.
Prakash Borgaonkar, joint director of Helpage India said, “The rules will help old people, especially those who are being harassed by their children. Even childless senior citizens can seek maintenance from their kin.”
STEPS TO FILE COMPLAINTS
Complainants can file applications with the special tribunal to claim maintenance from their children. Once the presiding officer at the tribunal is satisfied that the respondent party is obliged to maintain the applicant, notices are issued to the former. The matter is then referred to conciliation officers appointed by the tribunal.
The conciliation officers will try to work out a settlement between the two parties within a month. If the conciliation process does not work, the tribunal, after studying evidence in the matter, will order directing respondents to pay maintenance to the senior citizen. Appeals against orders of the tribunal will be heard by an appellate court.
The rules also proposes setting up of homes for seniors in every district. Residents of such homes will be selected from applications.
TRIBUNALS YET TO BE SET UP
Though the rules have been notified, the tribunals are yet to be set up. “We have been trying to speak to the Chief Minister on the issue but have not been able to get an appointment,” said Borgaonkar.
However, with the notification of the rules, police will not be able to ignore complaints from senior citizens. Advocate Floyd Gracias who has been involved in the issue of rights for senior citizens said, “While tribunals are still in the process of being set up, other relief like that from the police should be enforced with the help of the rules. Once a set of rules is notified by the state, police are bound to follow it.”
BEST SEATS FOR SENIORS
BEST UNDERTAKING has decided to increase the number of reserved seats for women and senior citizens in its bus fleets with effect from August 1 2010. Sunil Ganacharya, BEST committee member said that there was an urgent need for more seats for women and senior citizens as the demand had increased.
Now every single decker bus will have 12 seats reserved for women as against six earlier and four seats for senior citizen as against the earlier two seats. Double decker buses will have 10 seats for women as against the earlier four seats. While AC buses will have six seats now for women as against the four seats reserved earlier. Also now midi buses will have two additional seats reserved for women and one additional for senior citizens as against two earlier.
New rules will provide for:
- Setting up of Maintenance Tribunals
- Appointment of conciliation officers to get the two parties to settle dispute
- Ensure max compensation will be Rs 10,000 or an amount equivalent to a share of the applicant in the respondents income as a family member
- Setting up of State Council and District Committee of senior citizens to advise government on the issue
- Revocation of property transfers made by seniors to their heirs if the latter fail to look after them