Srija Choudhury
in Family Law
Asked March 09, 2015

Remedy against wife's cruelty towards dead husband's parents.

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If the husband dies and the wife throws his parents out of the house, what kind of remedies are they entitled to ?

Answer 1

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Anina D'cunha
Senior citizens in society, i.e. those citizens above 60 years of age, are entitled to certain rights of older persons. The government of India provides various concessions and facilities to its senior citizens. The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, aims at serving the elderly live with self-respect and in peace.[1] The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, makes it a legal obligation for children and heirs to provide maintenance to senior citizens. The Act defines a “parent” as a biological, adoptive or step mother or father. It further defines “children” as sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters. The issue arises in regard to the rights of the elderly to be taken care of by someone who is NOT a son, daughter, grandson or granddaughter. The Act defines a “relative” as someone who is in possession of or would inherit a senior citizen’s property after death. So, in this case, if the wife of the deceased is to inherit the property of her in-laws, under this Act she is has the obligation to look after them. This is in line with Section 4 of the Act. However, it is important to note that only a senior citizen who is unable able to maintain himself from his own earning or out of the property owned by him, is entitled to get relief under this Act.[2] There are also other provisions in law related to the rights of parents and elderly, namely under the Code of Criminal Procedure (Chapter IX, Section 125(1)(2)) which requires persons who have sufficient means to take care of his or her parents if they are unable to take care of themselves, and the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 which requires Hindu sons and daughters to maintain their elderly parents when parents are unable to maintain themselves.[3] Although legislation in India does not expressly prohibit the removal of parents from the house, there are other remedies available to the parent to ensure their right to be maintained. If such children or relative does not take required care of his/her parents or senior citizen respectively, then the parents/senior citizen can seek the assistance of Tribunal. In the present situation, the parents can seek the help of the Court to be granted residence of the house.[4]If the house is in fact owned by the parents themselves, they can approach the Tribunal to retain the possession and residence of the house. In case the house has been gifted or transferred to the husband and wife by the parents, according to Section 23 of the Act, the parents can reclaim the property they gifted or transferred in the name of their children if their welfare and basic needs are not being looked after.[5] Furthermore, according to Section 24 of the Act, abandoning a senior citizen in any place by the daughter-in-law is a criminal offence and such person shall be punishable with imprisonment or fine.[6] [1] Concessions and Facilities given to Senior Citizens by Different Ministries/Departments of the Government, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment”, available at http://socialjustice.nic.in/consd.php [2] “Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007, Legislative Brief”, available at http://indiatogether.org/seniors-laws [3]“Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007, Legislative Brief”, available at http://indiatogether.org/seniors-laws [4]“Concessions and Facilities given to Senior Citizens by Different Ministries/Departments of the Government, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment”, available at [5]“Senior citizens can now reclaim ‘gifted’ property from children” by Raghav Ohri , Shishir Tripathi : Chandigarh, Wed, Sep 11th, 2013, published in the Indian Express [6]“Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2007, Legislative Brief”, available at )
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