Many senior citizens are not aware of the legal provisions available
Earlier, the police office and the Collectorate were witness to petitioners complaining about children abandoning them and seeking old age pension to ensure their survival.
When parenting and bonding failed to make children responsible, there came the need for a legislation i.e., The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 (Central Act 56 of 2007) and the State came up with Tamil Nadu Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Rule.
The law came in for wide appreciation but unfortunately, awareness about the provisions is yet to percolate among the rural masses. In urban areas, the enforcement of law abruptly ends when a complaint is filed.
Soon after the complaint, the children enter into an agreement and either the petition is withdrawn or Further Action Dropped (FAD) on such petitions, after the children agree to part with a meagre sum for the livelihood of the parents.
Recently, there were cases of children harassing parents and driving them out of home asking them to part with their property and transfer them to their names.
Many such complaints were resolved at the inquiry stage itself after the police explained the possibility of looking at the issue as a land/property grab case.
In 2010, the police machinery in West Zone ensured a sustained focus on children abandoning parents at old age.
The zone received 220 petitions between February and December, of which only one case was registered. An analysis of the particulars available with the city police revealed that 13 petitions were received and all of them were resolved in 2010. In 2011, 19 of 20 petitions received were resolved.
In 2012, the city police received 16 petitions till date and all of them were resolved.
In 2010, the city police had to register an FIR on the basis of a 74-year-old parent accusing his 50-year-old son of causing hurt and criminal intimidation. The case is still under trial.
In 2011, the police registered three FIRs against sons based on the complaints from their fathers of which one case was under the “The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007”.
In May this year, further action was dropped after the son promised to take care of his father.
In the other two cases, the fathers complained about their sons resorting to nuisance, attempt to cause injury and criminal intimidation.
In both the cases, dealt under Indian Penal Code provisions, the sons were arrested and remanded.
Senior police officers point out that when cases of this nature ended in successful prosecution, bagging wide publicity, it would send a message loud and clear to society, so that the children discharge their duty, without the need for invoking the provisions of the legislation.
Police Commissioner A.K. Viswanathan points out that any senior citizen, feeling ignored, abandoned or uncared for by his/her children could approach the city police office for help.
Similarly, parents with inherited property facing harassment from the children could also prefer complaints.
The police will ensure priority in dealing with such cases, he adds.