Bihar government headed by CM Nitish Kumar has signed a proposal that allows jail term to sons and daughters who abandon their parents in old-age. The proposal seeking sentence for children abandoning their parents in old age was submitted by Bihar Social Welfare department.

The punishment can go up to imprisonment if the children refuse to take care of their parents in their old-age. The bill says that the charges against the wards will be booked under the non-bailable section in Bihar after receiving complaints from the elderly parents.

Media reports claim that Nitish Kumar said that this proposal was needed in current times, as children leave their aging parents to fend for themselves despite all the sacrifices parents make for their upbringing, India.com reported.

Over 100 million people in India are above the age of 60 and NGOs and research have suggested in the past that their children often subject older people to mental and emotional abuse. Some extreme cases also lead to physical abuse and abandonment of parents by their children due to mounting expenses, which was reported to be the highest contributor to the phenomenon.

Nitish Kumar government has approved a fund of Rs 384 crores for this effort.

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The Nitish Kumar cabinet discussed a total of 16 other agenda in the meeting and took a decision on 15. It has also decided to provide government jobs to the dependents of martyrs of the Pulwama and Kupwara terrorist attacks who belong to the state.

The punishment can go up to imprisonment if the children refuse to take care of their parents in their old-age. The bill says that the charges against the wards will be booked under the non-bailable section in Bihar after receiving complaints from the elderly parents.

Ratan Kumar Thakur from Bhagalpur district, Sanjay Kumar Sinha from Patna and Pintu Kumar Singh from Begusarai were killed in the two incidents in Jammu and Kashmir. The Bihar government will offer the martyrs’ dependents a job in Class III and IV category, as per their qualification.

While the Bihar government has passed the bill, the central government also mulled over increasing the jail term for those abandoning their parents from three months to six months. This provision only covers biological children and grandchildren for now.

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment was reviewing the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, in May last year when it also proposed to broaden the definition of children to include adopted or stepchildren, sons-in-law, and daughters-in-law, grandchildren and minor represented by legal guardians.

“Those who earn well can and should of course shell out a higher amount for the upkeep of their parents. Also, the definition of the term maintenance should go beyond providing food, clothing, housing, health care and include safety and security of parents,” said an official, TOI reported.

The Act currently makes it a legal obligation for children and heirs to provide maintenance to senior citizens and parents, by a monthly allowance of Rs 10,000.

Picture credit: The News Minute

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