senior citizen's rights of property?
What are the various laws for protecting the rights of old citizens in our country? What if an old age home does not function properly?
Right to equality is given to all citizens of the country by the Constitution of the India under Article 14. At the same time, this right is qualified and it has been established that there can be exceptions to this if the divisions so created are not arbitrary. India, though has a young population mostly, the aged and the senior citizens cannot be ignored. Traditionally, under the Hindu custom it has been the prerogative of the male child to protect and provide for his aged parents. However, we often depart from the traditions and there is a great population of the elderly, who are left with no source of livelihood and basic comforts. At the same time they need greater medical attention owing to their age.
Under existing laws, the Income tax act provides benefits to the senior citizens who are earning, through various provisions like the exemption limit being much higher as compared to other citizens. These benefits are revised with each budget.
Secondly, under Section 125 of the Indian Penal Code, even parents have the right to claim for maintenance, however, the quantity and nature of this depends on the facts and circumstances of each case and a petition needs to be filed in order to make this claim. This means litigation process which many people find inconvenient to undertake and rightly so.
A very recent change that is underway in the legal system of the country is the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007 which primarily, seeks to make it a legal obligation for children and heirs to provide maintenance to senior citizens. It also permits state governments to establish old age homes in every district. However the bill has not been passed by the legislature and there are several loopholes as pointed out by various stakeholders and research institutes that need to be plugged before it can be enacted into a law. The is bill will also cover the working of old age homes which at the moment are not regulated as they are mostly non- governmental organisations and unless certain specific complaints which can be under criminal law or violation of human rights, etc are filed no action can be taken to compel them to do or not do something.
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