Experts say that while the regulation has been around for over a decade now, not many are aware of its existence and how to claim the maintenance amount. The regulations primarily help seniors who cannot afford the basic necessities in old age. Seniors include parents and grandparents. They can claim maintenance from their children, grandchildren or “specified relatives”, who are essentially individuals who are legal owners of the assets of a senior.
Getting financial support
* Approach a maintenance tribunal
* The tribunal will send a notice to the opposite party
* If there’s no mutual settlement, the tribunal will give a final order based on details submitted
“While children are mandated to support, relatives can only be asked to provide financial assistance if they will inherit the property and assets of a senior or are already in possession of them. This provision creates a lot of issues for seniors trying to claim maintenance,” says Sharma of VoxLaw. Say, parents, lose their son. The daughter-in-law could be the only person available to provide financial assistance. But, if the seniors don’t have any assets, she cannot be held liable to provide support.
To seek maintenance under the Act, a senior needs to apply to a tribunal, which looks at whether the application is genuine and then awards an amount up to Rs10,000 at present. “Once the order is passed, the children or relatives are bound by it. If they don’t pay, they can be jailed for a month,” says Ansh Bhargava, a lawyer.
To make the process simple and hassle-free, seniors don’t need to appoint a lawyer. They can either undertake the procedure themselves or approach a tribunal through a non-government organisation.
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