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Dumping your parents may land you in jail

Mehtab Singh

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NEW DELHI: Children, who abandon parents in their twilight years, beware. They may face three months' imprisonment and cannot even appeal against the punishment.

A Bill passed by Parliament on Thursday will ensure that elderly people are taken care of by their children failing which they would face penal action.

"The Bill provides for three months' jail term if children do not look after old parents. The penal provision is meant to act as a deterrent," Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar told Rajya Sabha.

Kumar said children cannot go in for appeal. "This has been done deliberately as they have a lot of resources which the old people do not have," she said.

Later, the Rajya Sabha passed the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007 by a voice vote.

The statement of objects and reasons of the Bill says though the parents can claim maintenance under the CrPC, the procedure is both "time-consuming as well as expensive", and there was need to have simple, inexpensive and speedy provisions for care of parents.

The Bill has a clause for punishment to those who abandon their parents or relatives whose property they have inherited or would get as their legal heirs.

The Bill, already passed by Lok Sabha, provides for setting up of a tribunal in each district for helping the old in distress.

It also has a provision for establishment of old age homes which, the minister said, should be the last resort for the poor and the childless.

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