A. Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
Section 125(1)(2) makes it incumbent for a person having sufficient means to maintain his father or mother who is unable to maintain himself or herself and on getting proof of neglect or refusal, may be ordered by a first class magistrate to make a monthly allowance not exceeding Rs.500/-. It is applicable to all, irrespective of their religious faith and religious persuasions, and includes adoptive parents. This section has been interpreted by the supreme court in its ruling so as to make daughters and sons, married or unmarried, equally responsible to maintain their parents.
B. Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956
By Section 20(1)of the act, every Hindu son or daughter is under obligation to maintain aged and infirm parent, if unable to maintain himself or herself is entitled to maintenance. Amount is determined by the court taking into consideration the position and status of the parties.
C. Muslim Law
Children have a duty to maintain their aged parents even under the Muslims Law. According to Mulla:
a. Children in easy circumstances are bound to maintain their poor parents, although the latter may be able to earn something for themselves.
b. A son, though in strained circumstances is bound to maintain his mother, if the mother is poor, though she may not be infirm.
c. A son, who though poor, is earning something, is bound to support his father who earns nothing.
According the Tyabji, parents and grandparents in indigent circumstances are entitled, under Hanafi Law, to maintenance from their children and grandchildren who have the means, even if they are able to earn their livelihood. Both sons and daughters have a duty to maintain their parents under the Muslim law. The obligation, however, is dependent on their having the means to do so.
D. Christian And Parsi Law:
The Christians and Parsis have no personal laws providing for maintenance for the parents. Parents who wish to seek maintenance have to apply under provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.
E. The Himachal Pradesh Maintenance of Parents and Dependants Act 2001
The Himachal Pradesh Maintenance of Parents and Dependants Act 2001 (as Assented to by the President on 8th September 2001) makes it mandatory for children to look after their aged parents and other dependents or pay a maintenance allowance. The amount of maintenance is to commensurate with the family’s status.
The state Government through this legislation has tried to bypass the court. Complainants can simply go to a Sub Divisional Magistrate or any other appellate authority to seek redressal of their grievances.The Government of Maharashtra has passed a Bill on similar lines.
F. Judgment against Harassment of Parents
The Delhi High Court on 20th January 2004 asked the son and daughter-in-law of a septuagenarian couple, who had approached the Delhi High Court for help, to ensure that the old parents are not harassed. The couple had alleged they were being tortured by their children. “See to it that the needs of the old couple are looked after properly and they are not put to trouble,”