can a parent claim maintenance from a child
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This article has been written by Eesha Mishra.

Introduction

The word Maintenance in a generic sense means to provide financial assistance to someone who is dependent on you and unable to maintain himself or herself financially. Section 3(b) of Hindu Adoption and Maintenance  Act 1956 gives the broader meaning of maintenance. Under this section word maintenance not only includes financial assistance but also includes other assistance like providing food, clothing, shelter, residence, education,  medical attendance and treatment etc. to wife, children and older parents. 

Under Section 2(b) of Maintenance and Welfare Of Parents And Senior Citizen Act 2007 the word maintenance include food, clothing, residence,  medical attendance and treatment1 The right of maintenance of parents and senior people are given under section  125 of Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 and other personal laws like Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956, however, under the Christian law and Parsi law, there is no provision for the maintenance of old parents. 

In 2007, with an aim to strengthen the right of maintenance of old parents and seniors citizens and to provide other essential services to old the and senior citizen legislature passed the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act, 2007 which not only provide the right to claim the maintenance to parents from their children but it also provides provisions for establishment of the Maintenance Tribunal to provide speedy and effective relief to elderly persons. Also under section 19 of the Act also Mandate the establishment of old age home in every district and also provide the protection of the property of older people.  

Different notion of maintenance under major personal laws in India 

Hindu Adoption And Maintenance Act, 1956

The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956  is the first statute which provides provision for the maintenance of parents. This Act imposes an obligation on both the son and daughter to maintain their parents. According to Section 20 of the Act, it is an obligation of a  child whether it is legitimate or illegitimate to maintain old parents or infirm parents who are able to maintain themselves.  

The term child used in section 20 does not include a grandson and granddaughter. This section gives the right to both father and mother, even a stepmother to claim maintenance from their children. However, it is important to note that Parents who are able to maintain themselves from their own income and property can not claim the maintenance of their child.

Muslim Law

Following are the provisions formulism to claim maintenance as follow: 

  1. Both son and daughter are bound to maintain their parents if they are not able to maintain their own income and property.
  2. However, if one child is not financially good to provide maintenance to his parents then it is the duty of the other child to maintain his parents. It is mandatory in this law that if a son is poor then also it is the duty of his to maintain his parents only if a daughter is poor. Also, it is provided that if a child is able to maintain only one parent then the mother will get priority over the father. Under muslim law, there is no provision to provide maintenance to the stepmother. 

Christian law and Parsi law

Under Christian and Parsi law there is no provision for the maintenance of old parents.  

Objective Of Maintenance And Welfare Of Parents And Senior Citizen Act, 2007

In India, parents are worshipped like a good however these values are now declining day by day. Now children do not want to take responsibility for their parents. Because of this inhuman behaviour of children, there is no one who can take care or provide better can to them. Though, parents can claim maintenance from their children under section 125 of the criminal procedure code and also under other personal laws. But the procedure is both time-consuming and expensive. 

To solve this problem legislature passed this Act which not only proposes an inexpensive and less time-consuming procedure to claim maintenance from children but also propose different provision like setting up old age home for abounded parents, providing better medical facilities, further it also proposes protection of life and property of parents and senior citizen. Also, provide the provision of punishment of 3 months or fine of up to 5,000 for abandoning the old parents.

new legal draft

Maintenance And Welfare Of Parents And Senior Citizen (Amendment) Bill  2018 

Following are the key changes in the Act 

Definition 

Original Act 

Amended Act 

Children

Children refers to children and  grandchildren, excluding  

minors. 

the meaning of children  

extended which include  

biological  

adoptive/stepson/daughter,  son-in-law, daughter-in-law,  grandchildren and a minor  through his/her legal guardian

Relatives

Relative refers to the legal heir of  a childless senior citizen,  

excluding minors, who possess or would inherit his property after death.

No change in definition

Parents 

Parents include biological,  adoptive, and step-parents.

In-laws are included

Maintenance 

Maintenance includes the provision of food, clothing, residence, medical attendance and treatment.

safety and security are added 

     

OTHER PROVISION

Maintenance  amount 

Maintenance amount was fixed  to 10,000 per month 

The limit of 10,000 per month is removed and the  

determination of amount is  based on needs of parents

Word Abused 

Word Abused is not there in the  original Act 

This amendment added the  word abuse which means to  negligence in such a manner  

which causes physical or  mental suffering, assault or  injury to a parent or senior  citizen, by children or  

relatives who are obliged to  take care of them leading to a  decreased quality of life2

 

Landmark cases

Mr. Dattatrey Shivaji Mane v. Mrs. Lilabai Shivaji Mane And Ors (26th June 2018) 

Facts of the case

In this case, a petition was filed before the Bombay High Court under Article 227 of the Indian Constitution against the order of Tribunal for the welfare of parents and senior citizen. In this case,  respondent 1 is the mother of the Petitioner filed the case against the petitioner and his wife for assaulting her.  Before the tribunal, she prays for the maintenance and eviction of the petitioner and his wife from the tenement which belong to respondent 1 exclusively. Tribunal passed its order in the favours of respondents and orders the eviction of the petitioner and his wife.  

Issue before the court

Whether the tribunal has jurisdiction to pass the order of eviction of the petitioner under section 4 of the Act. 

Argument of petitioner 

It was argued that the tribunal has no jurisdiction under section 4 of the Act to pass the order of eviction of the petitioner and his wife.

It was also argued that the respondent is able to maintain herself. And thus she could seek relief against the petitioner under section 4 of the Act. 

Argument of respondent 

It was argued that respondent 1 does not have a major source of income to maintain herself  It was also argued that the tribunal has ample power to pass the order of eviction under section 4 of the Act.

Judgement 

In this case, the court that the tribunal has jurisdiction to pass an order of eviction under section 4 of the Act. 

Analysis

Following are the observation of the Court which is important to note: 

In this case, the court observed that where a house is self-acquired by the parents, son married or unmarried has no right to live with them. And even if he wants to live with them he has to live in the mercy of his parents until they allow him to live with them. No son has a right to be a burden on his parents throughout his life. Also, it is observed by the court that if children or grandchildren abusing their parents or grandparents are not allowed to stay with him. In this case, the court also points out some objective of the Maintenance And Welfare  Of Parents And Senior Citizens Act 2007. The court observed that the Act provides the inexpensive, simple, and speedy provision to claim. Also, this Act cast obligation on the citizens to maintain older people also propose provision for setting up old age homes for their proper maintenance. This Act also proposes better medical facilities for old people. 

Conclusion 

Maintenance And Welfare Of Parents And Senior Citizen Act 2007 was passed not only with the aim to protect the maintenance rights of old parents and senior citizens but also to provide them with a better life so that they are able to live their life with dignity. This Act not only talks about the maintenance rights of old parents and senior citizens but also proposes the provision like establishing the old age home for abandoned parents, providing better medical facilities to them etc. The 2018 Amendment made the Act more strong to protect the life and dignity of old parents and senior citizens. 

References  

  1. https://indiankanoon.org/
  2. https://www.google.com/amp/s/blog.ipleaders.in/can-a-parent-claim-maintenance-from-a child/amp/
  3. https://silvertalkies.com/maintenance-welfare-parents-senior-citizens-amendment-act-2018/
  4. https://socialjustice.nic.in/writereaddat a/UploadFile/MWPSC%2520Act,%25202018l636580082691025377.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwifhfTT9J HsAhUUxTgGHXPRArIQFjADegQIARAB&usg=AOvVaw0XVP581NA8VevUmseiPdS3

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