Police have arrested and remanded to judicial custody a man who had been accused of neglecting his parents, under the provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

The arrest was effected after an octogenarian lodged a complaint with the Ayanavaram police that his eldest son left him in the lurch by not even contributing for his food, clothes and medicines. Hours later, accused M. Kumar (55) of Ayanavaram was arrested and remanded to judicial custody.

According to police sources, J. Muthukrishnan (83) of DeMellows Road alleged that his eldest son Kumar was not taking care of him. While the old man was living with his two other sons, the accused had refused to contribute to his basic maintenance. Police arrested Kumar, produced him in a city court and later, lodged him in the Puzhal Central Prison.

The first such instance of a ward being arrested for neglect of a senior citizen under the Act was reported from Namakkal, according to Social Welfare Department officials.

The District Collector has also been proactive in taking other steps to ensure the welfare of senior citizens, they added.

The Act provides for punishing anyone who is tasked with caring for a senior citizen abandons the latter with imprisonment up to three months, or a fine up to Rs.5000, or both.

M. Singaraja, vice-chairman, Senior Citizens' Bureau, says, “It is, undoubtedly a good thing. It will send out a warning to other children who neglect their aged parents and there will be a fear among them now. Senior citizens go through untold harassment at the hands of their children and until the Act came, they had no way to redress their grievances.”

Meanwhile, Chennai Commissioner of Police T. Rajendran has warned that criminal action will be taken against any person harassing aged parents by not providing them basic facilities like food and shelter.

More In: Chennai