Kollam (Kerala), Sep.30 : Kerala Police in Kollam district has recently made first arrest in a case against six siblings under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 for allegedly neglecting and abandoning their widowed mother, who is 74-year-old.
The case is first of its kind under the Act.
Acting on a complaint by the social activists, the District Collector of Kollam ordered an inquiry, and based on the report the police registered a case against the six siblings and the eldest son was arrested.
He was, however, later released on bail.
Laxmikutty, the mother, never thought that one day her children would lock her up in her own home at an age when she would need them the most.
Of the fourteen children that Laxmikutty gave birth to only six survived and they are today well-settled in their personal lives.
But Laxmikutty had been leading a pitiable life as her children refused to look after her. She was taken to a hospital after social workers in the neighbourhood learnt about her plight.
The elderly Laxmikutty has now been shifted to the old-age home run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in Kollam city.
According to A. Shajahan, Collector, Kollam District, if Laxmikutty's sons don't bother for her care and legal action will be taken against all of them.
"She is provided with healthcare, food and other facilities there. So once we decide on the facilities that can be provided by the children of Laxmi. If they agree to provide all the facilities in the house, then we can send her back to their house, otherwise, we will have to proceed against them legally as provided in the Act. We can approach the volunteer agencies," said A. Shajahan, Collector, Kollam District.
Laxmikutty, however, did not want to accuse any of her sons. She said that the question pertains to her sons' responsibility. She also said that she loves her eldest son the most.
Abandoned old people have become a social problem in Kerala, where 11 per cent of the total population of 36 million people, fall under the senior citizen category.
The new law enacted by the Government of India in December 2007 mandates the children, who have resource, to provide for maintenance of their parents. It also provides for legal action against erring children including imprisonment. By Juhan Samuel