analysis, analytics, business

comparative Analysis on Elder Abuse Laws in India & Other Countries

Abstract

Abuse of any kind and to anyone in the world is a threat to the human being and it becomes a shame on society when abuse is being done to elder people. The stage of being elder is the phase that is being respected in every part of the world. But as the world changes, the behavior and attitude of all towards elders changes, and a sad part are the changes are more on the negative side. Through this article, we will be knowing the real side of what’s happing in India as well as internationally on the problem of elder abuse and what should be the ways to tackle it so that society will combat this situation.

Introduction

Our whole life is being divided into three stages and childhood and old age are among those in which one needs to be supported in all the possible ways. Elders mainly should be taken care of with all the love and emotion. But on the other hand, exist a dark reality of elder abuse, elder mistreatment, and whatnot that is being faced by the elder people. This becomes more disheartening and painful when the abusers are their own children, their own caretakers, their close ones.

Elder abuse has no specific meaning or definition but as the term speaks, elder abuse sums up to all the mistreatment, bad behaviour, using abusive language, ignorance, talking rudely by calling their names, and most importantly the mindset of today’s generation is the biggest abuse towards the elder who just thinks of themselves and becomes self-centered.

These abuses can be categorized in many ways be it emotional abuse, healthcare abuse, financial or sexual abuse and to control these there must be strict elder abuse laws, and with time to time government or the parliament have tried their best to draft laws to protect the elders and do whatever possible in their interest but weather these laws are sufficient or being implemented fully is the important question.[1]

Let us have a look at India as well as the international scenario over the Elder abuse laws.

Indian Provisions Regarding Elder Abuse

Hindu Adoptions & Maintenance Act, 1956

Provisions of this act clearly show that it is the obligation of the children to maintain their parents if they are not in a position to maintain themselves[2].

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act, 2007

This is a  special law similar to as discussed above, this also makes it obligatory for children be it, son or daughter, to maintain their parents and also under this act parents have the liberty to lodge a complaint against them for any mistreatment and misbehavior and children could be held liable for not supporting them.[3]

The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Section 125 under crpc solely deals with the maintenance with a wide ambit that not only covers parents but also covers children and wives. This law is applicable to all people but with a condition that is one has to prove without any reasonable doubt that they are being abused and mistreated and no sufficient means are there for their maintenance[4].

Parents and Senior Act, 2007

This act makes a bunch of people responsible for protecting and maintaining older adults. Besides the children, the legal guardians and state have an obligation to maintain and make an initiative towards the old age homes and their proper functioning in each district.

Children or legal guardians can be punished with a fine of 5,000 rupees or 3 years imprisonment for not maintaining the older adults[5].

Schemes & Policies

Many schemes and policies are being bought and drafted by the parliament and the government like Indra Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, the National progfor health care for the elderly, and a central sector scheme to improve the quality of life of the senior citizen to ensure their basic needs, medical and health care[6].

International Provisions Regarding International Elder Abuse

CALIFORNIA

Laws in California define elder abuse as harm done to an elderly or dependent person. An elder abuse case is in which a person over the age of 65 is exploited, neglected, or mistreated in a way that causes them pain. Those ages 18 to 64 who are caretakers are also covered by California’s elder abuse statute. In addition to elderly parents, dependents can also be mentally disabled individuals or those whose children care for them.

Abuse of elders includes economic exploitation, isolation, and abandonment. Having contact with close friends and family could be prohibited for elderly people. Money can be taken, bank accounts misused, and assets misused, such as by gaining access to the property or other accounts while the perpetrator pretends to be protecting them.

Action Taken by the Statute

A number of actions are considered abuse according to California elder abuse statutes. These actions include:

  1. Physiological abuse;
  2. Neglect;
  3. Abandonment;
  4. Violence against the individual;
  5. False imprisonment;
  6. Stealing the elderly individual’s money;
  7. Stealing the elderly individual’s property; and
  8. Isolation.

Punishment

Punishment depends on the facts of the case whether or not a wobbler offense is a misdemeanor or felony. California can punish elder abuse in the following ways:

  1. One year in county jail and a $6,000.00 fine for a misdemeanor conviction; or
  2. Two to four years in county jail for a felony conviction[7].

FLORIDA

An elderly person when abused, neglected, or abused aggravatedly is considered to be elder abuse in Florida. Elder abuse occurs when the victim is older than 60 years. An adult under 61 years of age or at least 18 years of age is considered an individual with a disability. Elder abuse allegations are investigated by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and local police.

Punishment

Those who abuse elderly people will be punished as follows:

  1. A third-degree felony carries a 5-year maximum prison sentence 
  2. For a first degree felony, a prison sentence of up to thirty years is possible

Other penalties

Negligence in a second degree is a charge of aggravated neglect.  There is a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison for aggravated neglect.

Additionally, elder financial abuse is against the law in Florida. In the event that more than $100,000 is taken, it is a first-degree felony. In the event that the amount obtained is between $20,000 and $100,000, the crime is a second-degree felony[8].

Judiciary Stand against Elder Abuse

  1. Santosh Surendra Patil Vs. Surendra Narasgopnda Patil & ors
    In this case, the Court held that it is the legal responsibility to care of the parents. The Court also directed the State Government to act as the guardians of the Senior Citizens and age-old infirm parents[9].
  2. Vijaya Manohar Arbat Vs. Kashi Rao Rajaram Sawai and Anr
    The Supreme Court rightly observed that a married daughter who is self-sufficient has to provide maintenance to the father or mother who does not have any  son. Also, the stepmother is equally entitled to  maintenance as the father[10].
  3. Jharkhand Senior Citizen Advocates Service Sansthan and Another Vs. State of Jharkhand The High Court of Jharkhand directed the state to setup  Old Age Homes in each district of the State with the immediate effect and to arrange separate queues in hospitals and other steps for  easement for elderly people while availing medical treatment[11].

Suggestions

Besides these laws, there has always been a constant increase in cases of elder abuse in our country. The main problem is the lack of enforceability of these laws. In addition, these laws do not contain strict provisions that can force people to behave rationally.

Conclusion

Several changes are needed in society, including making older people aware of their rights and what they can receive under different laws.

 Considering the condition of the elderly in our society, it is necessary to serve the elderly in a holistic way so that they can help them to live a life of dignity.

References

http://www.legalservicesindia.com/law/article/1832/15/Elder-Abuse

https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/5728eb60e56109289287336b

https://indiankanoon.org/doc/31053306/

Submitted By :

Nipun Manocha

Delhi Metropolitan Education, IPU


[1] Devanshi Jain, Elder Abuse, LEGAL SERVICES INDIA (Feb.10,2021, 03:07), http://www.legalservicesindia.com/law/article/1832/15/Elder-Abuse.

[2] Hindu Adoptions & Maintenance Act, 1956, No. 78, Acts of Parliament, 1956 (India). 

[3] The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act, 2007, No. 56, Acts of Parliament, 2007 (India).

[4] Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, No. 02, Acts of Parliament, 1974 (India).

[5] The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act, supra note 3, at 2.

[6] Chirag Dave, Karan Raj, Deepali Kasrekar, Manashi Mahanta, Rushabh Bhandari, Laws Relating to Elder Abuse In India (June. 14, 2020), https://www.rgaa.co.in/laws-relating-to-elder-abuse-in-india/.

[7] Jennifer Corbett, Elders Abuse California Lawyers, LEGAL MATCH CALIFORNIA (Oct. 29, 2020,), https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/elder-abuse-law-in-california.html.

[8] LEGAL MATCH, https://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/elder-abuse-law-in-florida.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2021).

[9] Santosh Surendra Patil v. Surendra Narasgopnda Patil and others, AIR 2017.

[10] Vijaya Manohar Arbat v. Kashi Rao Rajaram Sawai and anr, AIR 1987.

[11] Jharkhand Senior Citizen Advocates Service Sansthan and Another v. State of Jharkhand, (2013) 6819.