Fast Track Courts and Maintenance Act
Fast track courts are the need of the day as we see a large number of cases pending in the district and subordinate Courts. In the case of senior citizens, such courts are of utmost necessity as justice delayed is as good as justice denied. With increasing debilities, senior citizens lose the motivation to fight for justice, many are forced into out of court settlements much against their will and some do not survive to see the judgment.
Fast track courts were set up under the 11th Finance Commission to expedite the process of getting justice for the needy. Ever since, Nightingales Medical Trust has extensively advocated for setting up of fast track courts for senior citizens. NMT along with other senior citizens organizations started the 'Elders Moving Forward' campaign to advocate with the government for an exclusive legislation to protect the rights and privileges of senior citizens. Our advocacy efforts led to the passing of the ‘Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007'.
The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 makes it a legal obligation for children or heirs to provide maintenance to senior citizens. Senior citizens who are unable to maintain themselves have the right to apply to a maintenance tribunal seeking a monthly allowance from their children or heirs. It also allows the state government to establish old age homes in every government.
The state government also sets the maximum monthly maintenance allowance, which cannot be more than Rs.10, 000 per month. Punishment for not paying the monthly allowance is Rs. 5, 000 or three months imprisonment or both.
Any citizen of India who is 60 years and above, belonging to any religion or faith, whether living in India or not, having children or grandchildren above 18 years of age, be it biological or adopted is entitled to receive this monthly maintenance allowance.
In case of childless seniors, relatives who are either in possession of the property of the senior citizen or would inherit it are legally liable to look after and maintain the elderly. Failing to do so can lead to legal action against them.