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Maintenance of aged parents or senior citizen

By Shivendra Pratap Singh

I am a widow as well a senior citizen of India. I want to know about the maintenance rights of my son. What is my maintenance rights as per the Indian law?

Question from: New Delhi

India is the home of more than 81 million senior citizens. It is expected that by 2026, the number of senior citizens would be 173 million or 12.4 per cent of the population. Majority of them have been living without the help of their children. However, the old fabric of our society to live with parents and take care of them has been gradually withering due to exodus or migration from village to city for good job and livelihood. Children have neither the time nor the inclination to care for their old parents and grandparents.

However, traditional norms and values of the Indian society have laid stress on providing care for the elderly. However, our legal system is still waking. Elderly parents have the right to claim maintenance from their children under:

  • Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure
  • Section 20 (3) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act
  • Section 5 of The Maintenance and Welfare of The Parents and Senior Citizen Act 2007

You can file an application before the Magistrate under section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for maintenance against your son. You have to prove that you are unable to maintain yourself and your son has been neglecting or refusing to economic support. The court upon proof of such neglect or refusal shall order your son to pay the monthly allowances in the form of maintenance.

Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, imposes an obligation upon the son to maintain his aged or infirm parents. Therefore, a son cannot refuse to keep his parents who are unable to support out of their own earning. Again, you have to prove that you are unable to maintain. You may file a petition before the Family Court under section 7 of the Family Courts Act 1984 for the claim of maintenance under section 20(3) of the said Act.

You may move an application before the Tribunal constituted under The Maintenance and Welfare of The Parents and Senior Citizen Act 2007. Section 5 of the said Act 2007 empowers the Tribunal to admit an application for maintenance from a senior citizen. The senior citizens have the right to maintenance under section 4 of the said Act 2007 against their children or relatives.

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