Five years on, Punjab defines rules for Wefare of Parents Act

More than five years after its legislation, the Punjab government has finally defined the rules for the implementation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen's Act-2007.

The act makes it mandatory for adults to take care of their dependent parents and gives the right to senior citizens to demand monthly maintenance from their children by approaching a "tribunal" in case the children fail in their duties. The rules will be placed before the cabinet on Tuesday.

Though several sections of the IPC deal with cases of negligence against parents, the rules under this act aim for more effective provisions for the maintenance of the elderly. It provide for the creation of at least one maintenance tribunal in each sub-division of a district. The tribunal, headed by the SDM, will enjoy all powers of a civil court.

A senior citizen can send in a complaint directly to the tribunal or through the "maintenance officer" ó the district social welfare officer.

Other than the complaints made directly to the tribunal, it will also have powers to take suo moto cognisance of a case. NGOs and other organisations can register a complaint regarding ill-treatment of a senior citizen at the hands of his children or even relatives.

The tribunal will hear each case and if needed, appoint a "conciliatory officer" to probe the allegations made. In case the tribunal finds that the children were neglecting the parent, it can fix a monthly maintenance that the children will have to pay to the parent.

While the Tribunal can also declare null and void any transfer of property done by a senior citizen in the name of his children if it feels that this has been done forcibly, a monthly maintenance allowance will also be given to the parent during the pendency of the tribunal proceedings. The rules added that in case of non-compliance of the tribunal orders, it can fine the concerned person and also issue warrants leading to imprisonment of at least a month.

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