Elderly or seniority comprises of ages nearing or surpassing the normal life range of individuals. The limit of seniority can’t be characterized precisely on the grounds that it doesn’t have the same significance in all social orders. Individuals can be viewed as old in light of specific changes in their exercises or social parts. Additionally old individuals have restricted regenerative capacities and are more inclined to malady, disorders, and ailment as contrasted with different grown-ups.
In 1950, the world populace aged 60 years or more was 205 million (8.2 for every penny of the populace which expanded to 606 million (10 for every penny of the populace) in 2000. By 2050, the extent of older people of 60 years or more is anticipated to ascend to 21.1 percent, which will be two billion in number. Asia has the biggest number of world’s elderly (53 percent), trailed by Europe (25 percent). This weight of expanding quantities of elderly will increase in the following 50 years.
In spite of the fact that the logical investigation of maturing issues in India was endeavored as ahead of schedule as the 1960s, the World Assembly on Aging held in 1982 gave noteworthy force to gerontological examination; this has as of late picked up significance. Further, declarations of approaches like National Health Policy, National Population Policy what’s more, National Policy on Older Persons have additionally made significantly more mindfulness and awareness among scientists, arrangement producers and others, bringing about an expanded spotlight on age-related issues.
Problems of the Aged:
‘ Economic issues, incorporate such issues as loss of work, salary insufficiency and financial shakiness.
‘ Physical and physiological issues, incorporate wellbeing and medicinal issues, dietary insufficiency, and the issue of sufficient lodging and so on.
‘ Psycho-social issue which cover issues related with their mental and social maladjustment and in addition the issue of senior misuse and so on.
The subject of maturing was initially bantered at the United Nations in 1948 at the activity of Argentina. The issue was again brought by Malta up in 1969. In 1971 the General Assembly requested that the Secretary-General set up an exhaustive report on the elderly and to recommend rule for the national and global activity. In 1978, Assembly chose to hold a World Conference on the Aging. As needs be, the World Assembly on Aging was held in Vienna from July 26 to August 6, 1982 wherein an International Plan of Action on Aging was received. The general objective of the Plan was to fortify the capacity of individual nations to bargain successfully with the maturing in their populace, remembering the extraordinary concerns and needs of the elderly. The Plan endeavoured to advance comprehension of the social, financial and social ramifications of maturing and of related compassionate and created issues. The International Plan of Action on Aging was embraced by the General Assembly in 1982 and the Assembly in ensuing years approached governments to keep on implementing its standards and suggestions. The Assembly asked the Secretary-General to proceed with his endeavors to guarantee that catch up activity to the Plan is completed viably. In 1992, the U.N.General Assembly received the announcement to watch the year 1999 as the International Year of the Older Persons. The U.N.General Assembly has proclaimed “Ist October” as the International Day for the Elderly, later rechristened as the International Day of the Older Persons. It later on December 16, 1991 received 18 standards which are composed into 5 bunches, to be specific autonomy, cooperation, care, self-satisfaction, and respect of the more established persons. These standards give an expansive structure to activity on maturing. A percentage of the Principles are as per the following:
(i) Older Persons ought to have the chance to work and decide when to leave the work power.
(ii) Older Persons ought to stay incorporated in the public arena and take part effectively in the definition of approaches which impact their prosperity.
(iii) Older Persons ought to have admittance to social insurance to help them keep up the ideal level of physical, mental and passionate prosperity.
(iv)Older Persons ought to have the capacity to seek after open doors for the full advancement of their potential and have entry to instructive, social, otherworldly and recreational assets of society.
(v) Older Persons ought to have the capacity to live in pride and security and ought to be free from misuse and mental and physical misuse.
Art 41: Right to work, to instruction and to open help with specific cases: The State might, inside of the cutoff points of financial limit and improvement, make viable procurement for securing the privilege to work, to training and to open help with instances of unemployment, seniority, infection and disablement, and in different instances of undeserved need.
Art. 46: Promotion of educational and economic interests of and other weaker sections : The State should advance with exceptional consideration the instructive and monetary hobbies of the weaker segments of the general population and might shield them from social shamefulness and all types of misuse.
Be that as it may, these procurement are incorporated into the Chapter IV i.e., Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution. The Directive Principles, as expressed in Article 37, are not enforceable by any court of law. Be that as it may, Directive Principles force positive commitments on the state, i.e., what it ought to do. The Directive Principles have been announced to be essential in the administration of the nation and the state has been set under a commitment to apply them in making laws. The courts however can’t implement a Directive Principle as it doesn’t make any justifiable right for any person. It is most tragic that state has not made even a solitary Act which is specifically identified with the elderly persons.
Under The Code of Criminal Procedure:
Before 1973, there was no procurement for maintenance of parents under the code. The Law Commission, in any case, was not for making such procurement. As indicated by its report:
The Cr.P.C is not the correct spot for such a provison. There will be significantly trouble in the measure of upkeep honored to parents distributing amongst the youngsters in a synopsis continuing of this write. It is attractive to leave this matter for mediation by common courts.
The procurement, be that as it may, was presented without precedent for Sec.125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in 1973. It is additionally crucial that the guardian builds up that the other party has adequate means and has dismissed or declined to look after his, i.e., the guardian, who can’t look after himself. It is essential to note that Cr.P.C 1973, is a common law and administers persons having a place with all religions and groups. Girls, including wedded dughters, likewise have an obligation to keep up their guardians
Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007
India’s accomplishment in expanding future has prompted a bigger number of the elderly in the nation. The Registrar General of India estimates the offer of more aged persons (age 60 years or more) in the aggregate population to ascend from 6.9% in 2001 to 12.4% in 2026. Issues identified with the money related and government managed savings of more old individuals will turn out to be progressively vital. Without a doubt, the National Policy on Older Persons expresses, “Some areas of concern in the situations of older persons will also emerge, signs of which are already evident, resulting in pressures and fissures in living arrangements for older persons.”
The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007 looks to make it a lawful commitment for children and beneficiaries to give adequate upkeep to senior residents, and proposes to make procurements for state governments to build up maturity homes in each locale.
Under Clause 5(1) of the Bill, a senior citizen or a guardian may apply for maintenance under Clause 4 of the bill. (A senior citizen is an Indian citizen who is at least 60 years old. A parent could be father or mother, whether biological, adoptive or step father or step mother, whether or not the father or the mother is a senior citizen).On the off chance that the senior national or guardian is unable, some other individual or an intentional association approved by the senior resident or guardian can apply for upkeep for their benefit. The Tribunal may take perception suo motu (that is, it can follow up on its own discernment). These two procurements are welcome subsequent to most senior citizens or parents don’t have the vitality (they don’t have the cash in any case) to apply for maintenance.
The said Tribunal may, when a procedure in regards to month to month remittance for the support under this area is pending, request such youngsters or in respect to pay a month to month stipend for the break upkeep of the senior subject including guardian. The State government is required to constitute inside of a time of 6 months from the date of beginning of the law (Act), Tribunals with the end goal of settling and choosing the request for upkeep under Clause 5.
As indicated by Clause 4(1), the senior resident including guardian is qualified for apply for According to Clause 4(1), the senior citizen including parent is entitled to apply for maintenance under Clause 5 if he is unable to maintain himself from his own earnings or out of the property owned by him. A parent or grand-parent can make an application for maintenance against one or more of his children who are majors (‘children’ includes son, daughter, grandson and grand-daughter). The obligation of the children to maintain his or her parent extends to the needs of such parent either father or mother or both, as the case may be, so that such parent may lead a normal life. A childless senior citizen, on the other hand, can make an application against his relative (“relative” means any legal heir of the childless senior citizen who is a major and is in possession of or would inherit the property after the childless senior citizen’s death; property means property of any kind, whether movable or immovable, ancestral or self-acquired, tangible or intangible and includes rights or interests in such property).
Thus Clause 4 makes a reference to grand-parent while Clause 5 does not. In other words, Clause 5 is silent about how the application for maintenance should be made by a grand-parent (who is not yet 60) under Clause 4. I wish the learned law-makers took notice of this inconsistency lest vested interests should exploit this well-intended provision.
If the senior citizen has transferred by way of gift or otherwise, his property, subject to the condition that the relative shall provide the basic amenities and basic physical needs to the senior citizen and such relative refuses or fails to provide such amenities and physical needs, Clause 23 (1) says the said transfer of property shall be declared void by the Tribunal, if the senior citizen so desires. This is a welcome provision since it protects na”ve senior citizens from exploitation by relatives who intend to renege on their promise subsequently.
The State government is also required to prescribe a comprehensive action plan for protecting the life and property of senior citizens. This is also a welcome provision since the vulnerable senior citizen can be easily harmed or hurt. In fact the senior citizen may be even carted away somewhere to ensure that none else including the voluntary organization and the Tribunal come to know of their whereabouts. Fortunately Clause 24 of the Bill takes care of this aspect. According to this Clause, ‘Whoever, having the care or protection of senior citizen leaves, such senior citizen in any place with the intention of wholly abandoning such senior citizen, shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months or fine which may extend to five thousands rupees or with both’. The Bill does not cover maturity annuity maybe on the grounds that State governments are actualizing the Old Age Pension Scheme. Be that as it may, the measure of benefits and the qualification criteria are not uniform over the States, under the said Scheme. The Bill ought to have commanded the State governments to pay maturity annuity to the senior natives satisfactorily and consistently the nation over.. It needs to deny wage charge sops to the individuals who don’t keep up parents /grandparents/relatives; it needs to deny seniority benefits to those folks/fantastic folks/relatives who are being kept up by their children’s/relatives.
Ultimately, the legislature, while drafting Bills, utilizes “may” (rather than the word ‘shall’) even where provisions of a compulsory nature are included. What prompts this howler? Is it obliviousness or absence of conviction with respect to the administration?
Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar tabled the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007 in the Lok Sabha. The Bill proposes to make it obligatory on the persons who inherit the property of their aged relatives to maintain them. It also aims to make provisions for setting up old age homes to take care of indigent older persons. It aims to set up an appropriate mechanism for need-based maintenance to parents and senior citizens, better medical facilities and old age homes in every district. It seeks for institutionalisation of a suitable mechanism for the protection of the life and property of older persons. Describing ageing as a major challenge and the need to give more attention to the care and protection of the older person, the statement of objects and reasons said many older persons, particularly widowed women, are now forced to spend their twilight years all alone and face emotional neglect and lack physical and financial support. Though the parents can claim maintenance under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the procedure is both time-consuming as well as expensive. Hence, there is need to have simple, inexpensive and speedy provisions to claim maintenance, the statement said.
The Himachal Pradesh Maintenance of Parents and Dependents Act, 2001
The state of Himachal Pradesh enacted a similar law in 2001. That law, the Himachal Pradesh Maintenance of Parents and Dependents Act, 2001, requires adequate maintenance for parents and dependents that are unable to take care of themselves.
Application for Maintenance
The Bill places an obligation on children and relatives to maintain a senior citizen (anyone above the age of 60 years) or a parent to the extent that they can live a ‘normal life.’ This obligation applies to all Indian citizens, including those residing abroad.
A senior citizen who is unable to maintain himself based on his own earnings or property shall have the right to apply to a maintenance tribunal for a monthly allowance from their child or relative. If he is incapable of filing the application on his own, he may authorise any other person or registered voluntary association to apply on his behalf. The maintenance tribunal may also, on its own, initiate the process for maintenance.
The Bill defines ‘children’ as sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters and ‘relative’ as any legal heir of a childless senior citizen who is in possession of or would inherit his property upon death. Minors are excluded from both definitions. ‘Parents’ include biological, adoptive or step parents.
In cases in which more than one relative will inherit the property of a senior citizen, each relative will be responsible to pay the maintenance fee in proportion to the property they will inherit.
The state government may establish one or more maintenance tribunals per sub-division to decide upon the order for maintenance. The tribunal will be presided over by an officer not below the rank of sub-divisional officer. The tribunal shall have all the powers of a civil court. No civil court shall have jurisdiction in respect of any matter dealing with any provisions of this Bill.
If the tribunal is satisfied that the senior citizen is unable to take care of himself and that there is neglect or refusal of maintenance on the part of the children or relative, it may order children or relatives to give a monthly maintenance allowance to the senior citizen. The maximum maintenance allowance shall be prescribed by the state government, and shall not exceed Rs 10,000 per month.
Before hearing an application, the tribunal may refer the case to a conciliation officer to reach amicable settlement within one month. If such agreement is reached, the tribunal may pass that order.
The tribunal may order children or relative to make a monthly allowance as interim maintenance while the application is pending. The application shall, as far as possible, be disposed of within 90 days.
The maintenance allowance shall be payable from either the date of the order or the application, to be deposited within 30 days of the order. A simple interest payment between 5% and 18% on the monthly allowance from the date of the application may also be required.
The tribunal may alter the allowance for maintenance on proof of misrepresentation or mistake of fact or a change in the circumstance of the senior citizen or parent receiving the monthly payment.
Any maintenance order made by the tribunal shall have the same force as an order passed under Chapter IX of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC), which also provides for maintenance of senior citizens. If a senior citizen is entitled for maintenance under both Acts, he can claim maintenance under only one Act.
The State Government may establish one appellate tribunal per district to be presided over by an officer not below the rank of District Magistrate. The appellate tribunal shall try to pronounce its order in writing within one month of the appeal.
Offences and penalties
On failure to comply with the maintenance fee, the tribunal may issue a warrant for collection within three months of the due date. Should the fee remain unpaid, the accused may be imprisoned for up to one month or until payment, whichever is earlier.
Punishment for abandoning a senior citizen shall include an imprisonment of up to three months or fine of up to Rs 5,000, or both.
The tribunal can declare a transfer of property (as gift or otherwise) from a senior citizen to a transferee as void if the transfer was made under the condition of maintenance, and the transferee neglects the agreement. A registered voluntary organization may take action on behalf of the senior citizen if he or she is unable to enforce these rights.
Representation in tribunals
A party before a maintenance or appellate tribunal shall not be represented by a legal practitioner. A senior citizen may choose to be represented by the maintenance officer (a district social welfare officer).
Other provisions for grey population
The state government may establish and maintain at least one old age home per district with a minimum capacity of 150 senior citizens per home. The state government may also prescribe a scheme for the management of such homes. The scheme shall specify standards and services to be provided including those required for medical care and entertainment of residents of these old age homes.
The state government shall ensure that government hospitals and those funded by the government provide beds for all senior citizens as far as possible. It shall ensure separate queues for senior citizens, expand facilities for treatment of diseases and expand research for chronic elderly diseases and aging. Every district hospital shall also earmark facilities for geriatric patients.
The state government is responsible for publicising the provisions, as well as ensuring that government officers undergo periodic sensitisations and awareness training on issues relating to the Bill. The district magistrate shall be responsible for implementing the provisions of the Bill.
Some New Schemes for Old Age Income Security
Reverse Mortgages: The 2007 Budget speech announced the introduction of reverse mortgage for senior citizens by The National Housing Bank (NHB). The NHB Draft Guidelines state: The scheme involves the senior citizen borrower(s) mortgaging the house property to a lender, who then makes periodic payments to the borrower(s) during the latter’s lifetime.
New Pension Scheme: The New Pension Scheme (NPS) seeks to provide old age security for all individuals, including the unorganised sector by creating a mechanism to enable them to save through their working lives. Under NPS every subscriber is to have an individual pension account, portable across job changes. The amount (including income on the investments) will be available at the age of 60 years, with at least 40% to be converted into monthly payments for the rest of their lives.
Financial independence: The goal of old age security programmes is to ensure the financial independence and dignity of senior citizens. In addition to this Bill, there are some financial schemes that also attempt to achieve old age security. Two such schemes are the recently announced reverse mortgage concept and the New Pension Scheme.
The Bill sets the maximum cap for monthly maintenance allowance for senior citizens at Rs 10,000 per month, which is significantly higher than what is given by both the central and state governments under the National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS). Under NOAPS, central assistance amounts to Rs 200 per month and state government pensions range from Rs 75 per month in Andhra Pradesh to Rs 400 per month in West Bengal.
The research concentrates on the regulations and conditions in seniority homes and day care and the path in which they advance or break down the privileges of elderly. Besides, an endeavour will likewise be made to understand the status of elderly in joint and nuclear families and the treatment they get in their family members. This undertaking will comprehend the degree of acknowledgment of the human rights the matured and the glaring infringement of their rights, if any. The study tosses light upon the quality and responsibility of the laws, arrangements and programmes provided to this specific age gathering of persons.
It may be conclude by saying that the problem of the elderly must be addressed to urgently and with utmost care. There is urgent need to amend the Constitution for the special provision to protection of aged person and bring it in the periphery of fundamental right. With the degeneration of joint family system, dislocation of familiar bonds and loss of respect for the aged person, the family in modern times should not be thought to be a secure place for them. Thus, it should be the Constitutional duty of the State to make an Act for the welfare and extra protection of the senior citizen including palliative care. The government has tried its best to provide for the upliftment and protection of older persons (that could make their everyday living better) by drafting various governmental concessions, schemes and policies specifically for them. However the implementation of this well-intended instrument is very poor.
The other concern that has not been adequately addressed by legal instruments is the increased crime rate against the elderly populace on the streets and within the confines of their homes, robbery and dacoit being the primary reasons for their attack. Proper police patrolling, SOS facilities seem to be the urgent needs of this hour along with the implementation of the instruments that are already in place.