HC: dispose petitions under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents Act in 2 months

Judge directs Chief Secretary to issue a circular in this regard to Collectors

Frowning upon the delay in addressing grievances of senior citizens, the Madras High Court has directed the Chief Secretary to issue a circular instructing all Collectors and revenue officials in the State to dispose of in two months the applications and appeals filed under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act of 2007.

Justice S.M. Subramaniam said such a circular was imminent not only to protect the fundamental right to life guaranteed in the Constitution, but also to ensure that the protection guaranteed to senior citizens under the special legislation enacted in 2007 is meaningful and effective. He said government officials were obligated to act fast in such cases.

The observations were made while disposing of a writ petition filed by a retired Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation employee G. Balaiyan of Tiruvarur district. His counsel P. Vijendran said the petitioner’s son had deserted him after snatching away his house. Hence, he had filed a petition before a Revenue Divisional Officer and obtained an order for a monthly maintenance of ₹10,000.

Saying that the petitioner’s son did not pay the amount ordered by the RDO, an appeal was preferred before the Collector on January 21, the advocate said. However, the appeal was not disposed of till date, leaving the petitioner with no means to survive, he said. Finding force in his submissions, the judge directed the Collector to dispose of the appeal expeditiously.

“Prolongation and protraction of applications and appeals filed under the Act will cause prejudice to the livelihood of the elderly. The very purpose and object of the Act is to ensure that the aged are maintained properly. Thus, a delay will amount to the violation of the Fundamental Right to Life,” the judge said.

He also said the delay in disposing of petitions filed under the Act would not only be construed as a lapse, but also as dereliction of duty on the part of the official concerned.

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