Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007:
The High Court of Karnataka has said that there is a complete failure on the part of the State government to comply with its statutory obligation of establishing old-age homes as per the provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.
Is it mandatory for the state to set up such homes as per the law?
Section 19 of the law says, the State Government may establish and maintain such number of oldage homes at accessible places, as it may deem necessary, in a phased manner, beginning with at least one in each district .
- The State Government may also, prescribe a scheme for management of oldage homes.
What has the High Court said on this?
Though the Act states that the State governments “may” establish and maintain old-age homes, the Court said that depending upon various factors, while interpreting a statute, the word “may” can be interpreted as “shall” and vice versa.
Need for such homes:
Indigent senior citizens need protection considering the harsh reality of life, in which a large number of elderly persons are not being looked after by their families due to withering of the joint family system. Besides, ageing has become a major social challenge.
Overview of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007:
- This Act makes it legally obliging for adult children and heirs to provide for parents by way of a monthly allowance.
- This Act provides an inexpensive and speedy procedure to claim monthly maintenance for parents and senior citizens.
- According to this Act, parents could mean biological, adoptive or step-parents.
- Under this Act, there are also provisions to protect the life and property of such persons (elderly).
- Do you know, the UN 2020 theme observes 2020-2030 as Decade of Healthy ageing? Read Here
- Do you know , Surprisingly, older persons are not yet expressly identified as a protected group under international human rights law? Read More
- Who are Indigent senior citizens as per the act?
- Role of states as per the act.
- Other key features of the Act.
- Amendments proposed.
Ageing has become a major social challenge. Comment.
Sources: the Hindu.