Now abusing or abandoning parents would lead to stricter punishments and more heavy compensation thanks to a recently proposed bill.
The Centre recently proposed The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2018, suggesting firm punishment for those found guilty of abusing and abandoning their parents in old age.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment drafted the bill that also proposed to increase the jail term from three to six months and changing the compensation amount ‘taking into account the standard of living of the senior citizen and the financial situation of both the parties’.
The bill also changed the definition of ‘Maintenance’- it now includes provision for food, clothing, medical attendance, treatment, safety, housing and security.
‘Relative’- any legal heir of the childless senior citizen(s) who is not a minor and is in possession of or would inherit his/her property after his/her death.
Neeta Singh, NGO and social worker: I do not know if this would work or not. This is so because most of the parents are left alone because they cannot afford them or it is just because they do not want them. There are even kids who provide their parents with their basic needs but leave them at an old age home. Forcing a law will only make the situation worse for the parents. For them, it will be like living under house arrest. It is better they move out of their house, live with their likes in a care centre rather than being abused everyday. Yes, there is a right of home as the heirs of the property, even by compulsion will take care of the guardian until their death.
Preetam Nagpal, a young designer: Given the points that this bill wants to highlight and update, this is a welcome move more so that not just the adopted or blood related kid has to bear the burden. Any legal heir to the parents will be scrutinised too. This is ideal for those who only showcase love and affection just to take their prized possessions and leave them isolated, which happens mostly in cities like Delhi. I am just curious what the Opposition now has to say in contradiction.
Shreshtha Chowdhary, an event manager: One good thing that happened after proposing this bill is that now people actually know that there was such rule already in place that is being improvised now. Something like this is a major concern in a country where parents are abandoned and left on the streets to die. If not by love or emotions, these people need to be taught a lesson by hook or by crook. Also, such things will also be an eye opener for parents who sacrifice all that they have earned for their kids. They should never surrender to them. If their kids are loving them only for money and property, then they should lure them with it, if need be.
Vipin Raghav, wellness and lifestyle coach: I believe in the law of the country and also the highest court. This initiative, in my view, is very prompt and appropriate given the circumstances. I know a friend who is now nearing his 70’s, whom I met in the park few years ago. I was very much disturbed after hearing his situation that he was living at a rented room in a very bad condition. All of this because his kids disowned him after a couple of years of his retirement. He was alone and helpless. I think only the law and punishment should be served to these Devils. Also, kids should be left on their own after they are mature enough to lead a life on their own. No connections, no pain.
James Bandi, social worker: I think this is the best thing that has happened in a long time. There are too many parents who have been abandoned by their children once they outlive their shelf life. They are thrown into some old age home and left there without their care until death. What these selfish, money-grabbing children don’t realise is that these were the same parents who brought them into this world, participated in their joys and sorrows and supported them. The world is getting very selfish these days and such punishment should at least make the children think twice about abandoning their parents.
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