The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 was enacted by the Indian Parliament with an intention to provide effective provisions for the maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens. According to this Act, senior citizens who are unable to maintain themselves can make an application against their children for maintenance. If a senior citizen is a childless person, he can file an application against his relatives for maintenance.
The obligation of the children or the relatives to maintain a senior citizen extends to the needs of such senior citizens, so that such parents may lead a normal life.
If a person being relative of a senior citizen and is having sufficient means and is in possession of property of the senior citizen or if he would inherit the property of such senior citizens, then he is liable to maintain such senior citizens.
A senior citizen can file an application for maintenance to the maintenance tribunal. If he is incapable of making the application himself, he can authorize any organization or person to do the needful.
The tribunal is empowered to grant interim maintenance to senior citizens, during the pendency of proceedings before it. An application for maintenance shall be disposed off, in the normal course within 90 days from the date of service of notice and in exceptional cases, the tribunal may extend the said period, once for a maximum period of 30 days.
An application for the maintenance may be filed against one or more persons. The allowance for maintenance and the expenses for the proceedings may be passed from the date of the order or even from the date of filing the application. If the children or relative fails to pay maintenance to a senior citizen, then the tribunal can issue a warrant against them and send them for imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or until payment is made, whichever is earlier. The proceedings against the children or/and a relative shall be taken before the tribunal in a district where they resides or resided last.
The Act also provides for a conciliation officer, who can try for a negotiated settlement between the parties. Normally the order for maintenance is made on a monthly basis. The maximum monthly maintenance is Rs. 10,000/- per month. The tribunal has the power to make alteration in the allowances if there is a change in the circumstances or for other reasons like misrepresentation or mistake of fact done by the applicant before it.