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Bill introduced in LS to sentence abusers of senior citizens to six months in jail


New Delhi, Dec 11: Those who intentionally abuse their parents or senior citizens under their care and protection or abandon them may be sentenced to six months' imprisonment or slapped with a fine of Rs 10,000 or both, according to a bill introduced to amend the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Lok Sabha

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Bill, 2019, introduced in the House by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot, defines "abuse" as physical, verbal, emotional and economic abuses, neglect and abandonment, causing assault, injury, physical or mental suffering.

Similarly, "children" in relation to a parent or a senior citizen means son or daughter, whether biological, adoptive or step-child, and includes son-in-law, daughter-in-law, grandson, grand-daughter and legal guardians of minor children.

The bill provides for establishment of a tribunal for senior citizens to file claims for maintenance and assistance and such applications from those above 80 years of age should be disposed off within 60 days.

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Only in exceptional circumstances and for reasons to be recorded in writing, the tribunal may extend the period only once for a maximum of 30 days. For other senior citizens or parents, their applications will have to be settled by the tribunal within 90 days.

According to the legislation, there will be a nodal officer at each police station, not below the rank of an assistant sub-inspector, to deal with the issues relating to parents and senior citizens. Similarly, each district will have a special police unit for senior citizens' welfare and such a unit will have to be headed by a police officer not below the rank of DSP.

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