LS passes Parents and Senior Citizens Welfare Bill

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New Delhi, Dec 5 (UNI) The Lok Sabha today passed the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007, which makes it obligatory for the persons who inherit property of their aged relatives to ensure their upkeep.

The Bill received the wide support of the members of the House, with no opposition, and Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Meira Kumar stating that it was aimed at providing for more effective maintenance and welfare of the aged.

The Minister in her reply to the debate, said the tone of the members was that the elderly need greater respect than they were being given and added that the legislation was a step in this direction.

The Bill was passed with amendments, including giving the Central government the power to undertake periodic review of the manner in which the State governments were carrying out its implementation.

The Bill provides for setting up separate tribunals at district headquarters where elderly parents could move to claim proper maintenance from their children.

Besides, those without children could take shelter in Old age Homes to be established by the governments across the country.

In case, the adopted wards maltreat their aged parents, they would be empowered to revert their will and take back their property.

The Minister said the Bill was necessitated because of the growing practice of children neglecting their old parents, including maltreating and dumping old and ailing persons at odd places and spots such as bus stands and railway stations.

The Bill also aims at providing better medical facilities to the grey population and seeks to develop an institutional mechanism for the protection of the life and property of old people.

Though parents can claim maintenance under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the procedure is regarded both time consuming as well as expensive.

These bottlenecks are sought to be eliminated in the much debated legislation which has received the support of civil society.

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