Can a parent file a maintenance application against more than one child or relative?

Yes, you can. As a parent, you can file your maintenance application against all your children. All of them have a duty to maintain you. As a senior citizen (without children), you can file your maintenance application against any or all relatives who possess or will inherit your property. If there is more than one such relative, each relative is supposed to pay maintenance in proportion to the property that they will inherit from you.

Can the amount of maintenance given to a parent or senior citizen, change at a later time depending on the situation?

Yes. The amount of maintenance can be altered/increased by approaching the court, if there are changes in your requirements like increase in cost of medical treatment. However, do remember that the amount can also be decreased depending on whether you now have an additional source of income or your requirements have decreased. It can also be canceled – for example, if you have converted to another religion and are no longer a Hindu, the judge may cancel payments as you are no longer eligible to receive maintenance under Hindu law.

I do not have sons. So, can I claim maintenance from my daughter?

Yes. Both sons and daughters bear the duty to maintain parents equally. Even married daughters have a duty to maintain their parents. However, the court will order her to pay only from her own money and assets. The married daughter’s husband has no duty to support his wife’s parents.

Children taking care of Parents

Indian law requires all persons to maintain and support their parents – biological, step-parents as well as adoptive depending on the circumstances. The Maintenance and Welfare Of Parents And Senior Citizens Act, 2007 is a special law under which a senior citizen (above 60 years) can apply to a tribunal for maintenance from their adult children or legal heirs. You can apply for maintenance if you are unable to take care of yourself. 

Punishment for Abandoning and Neglecting Senior Citizen

If you leave a senior citizen at some place with the intention of abandoning them and not taking care of them, you can be punished with jail time of up to three months and/or a fine of up to Rupees five thousand. The police can make an arrest without the permission of a court. However, this is a bailable crime. If you are able to pay the bail bond, you will be released.

Amount of Maintenance for Parents

There is no standard amount of money awarded as maintenance for parents. It is decided on a case-by-case basis. The amount due to you will be decided by the court taking into account a number of factors, such as:

  • Status and standard of living of the child or legal heir
  • Your needs and requirements (reasonably calculated)
  • Whether you are living separately from your child or legal heir
  • Income, wealth and value of the child or legal heir’s properties.
  • Income, wealth and value of your properties.
  • Number of persons who have to receive maintenance.

The judge will decide the duration of the maintenance to be paid, but in most cases the duration will be for your lifetime.

Maintenance under Hindu Law

Biological/Adoptive parents who are Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or Sikh and are aged or infirmed can seek maintenance from their grown children under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act if they are unable to support themselves from their own earnings or property. In addition, even when the son or daughter is no more, parents can still claim maintenance from the wealth and properties of the deceased.

Maintenance after death

The duty to maintain parents exists even after the death of your child or legal heir. Upon an application, the court may order that a portion of the child or legal heir’s wealth and assets be given to you, if you are old and infirm. The amount of maintenance in such cases will be calculated as per the rules of inheritance applicable after the death of your child or legal heir. The amount due to you will be decided by a court after considering a number of factors such as:

  • Full value of assets of the child or legal heir after paying off their debts including any income from their property,
  • Provisions of their will (if any),
  • Nature and closeness of the relationship with you,
  • Your needs and requirements (reasonably calculated), or
  • The number of people dependent on them for maintenance.