Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Foreign citizens living in India are also covered under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act

In a significant judgment, the Punjab and Haryana high court has ruled that foreign citizens living in India are also covered under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, a legislation enacted to protect the rights of senior citizens in the country.
The high court bench of justice HS Sidhu ruled that under the Act, a person who was a parent would be entitled to the benefits of the Act, which were conferred on parents, irrespective of his or her age or nationality.
“The requirement of being a citizen of India is only a part of the definition of a senior citizen, a father or mother, whatever his or her nationality, would be a parent,” the high court bench said.

The judgment came in a matter, wherein an eviction order passed by the Chandigarh district sessions court was challenged by the daughter-in-law of a senior citizen India-born couple with US citizenship living in Sector 9, Chandigarh. The senior citizen engineer husband and doctor wife had moved back from the US in 2014 to live in their Sector 9 house. But they developed problems with their daughter-in-law, who was residing at the property. The said property belonged to the senior citizen couple. Later, they approached a local court for eviction of the property.
“It is inconceivable that Parliament could have intended to deny the benefits of Chapter V of the Act to the aged parents, merely because they were not citizens of India,” the high court bench said, refusing to accept the argument by the petitioner that such an application could be filed only by a senior citizen who was a citizen of India.
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