June 16, 2010

June 15 is the Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Filed under: Press_Coverage — Fighting Legal Terror @ 7:01 am


JUNE 15 is the fifth annual Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Organisations and communities across the world are engaging in activities which will raise awareness of this serious problem affecting elderly citizens worldwide. Elder Abuse Awareness Day was started in 2006. In its initial year, several hundred organisations and government entities participated in activities intended to help promote a better understanding of the issues surrounding elderly abuse in nursing homes around the world. Participation in the event has grown considerably each year.

National Family Harmony Society is working towards creating awareness from many years regarding various issues of the aged, elder, ailing and senior citizens in India. NFHS has drawn the attention of the Government on the occasion of elder’s abuse awareness day regarding various issues faced by elderly senior citizens in India.

It is a well known fact that normally in the context of Indian society and culture aged old parents normally stay with their son and daughter-in-law in the last leg of their life. It is being increasingly noticed as a trend that often such aged parents are tortured and harassed by the daughter-in-law and are exploited due to the fact that they are old, weak, ailing and do not have a place to live in the older age. Unlike the Western countries where there are shelter homes provided by government, in India such aged, elderly parents have to depend upon their son and daughter-in-law for their survival, medical treatment and care etc. This is also a fact of the life that once a person cross 50+ they suffer from various ailments for which they need extra care, affection treatment extra etc. A modern, young, well educated and working daughter-in-law considers age old parents of her husband a burden on her, as she needs to take care of them and also because she considers them an inhibition on her freedom to life.

“This is a well known fact that misuse of dowry laws (IPC 498A) and other women protected laws like Domestic Violence Act now has become a well recognised problem in India. Increasing number of aged old parents in the husband’s family are falsely accused and arrested and thrown out of their houses under these laws and find them defenseless against legal terror unleashed thereafter. As per NCRB data 3500 senior citizens were falsely arrested merely on a false complaint of daughter-in-law,” said president of NFHS P Suresh.

“Over the years, various responsible agencies including Indian Judiciary has stressed on the need for amending these atrocious laws. The world health organisation identified misuse of IPC 498A as the prominent reason for elder abuse in India,” said general secretary of NFHS M Mahesh.

A report on ‘Elder Abuse in India’ by the United Nations, talks of dowry laws in India that girls are misusing to harass their aged, elder in-laws. Aged parents, after struggling lifelong and after discharging various duties and responsibilities such as education of the children, house and marriage of the children wants a peaceful life in the old age. But as is found by various research reports by various NGO’s across India, they suffer the most in case the marriage of their son and daughter-in-law ends in dispute. Under the dreaded and dangerous IPC 498A the elderly parents of the husband are immediately arrested and sent to prison, just on a written false complaint of the daughter-in-law. After a struggling life the elderly parents have to undergo the harrowing and humiliating experience of prison and police station.

“Why the aged old parents are immediately arrested just on the false complaint of daughter-in-law? Why the repeated pleas for amending these laws over the years by various NGOs and various courts are not being heard? Why are so many senior citizens being traumatised during the last leg of their lives?” NFHS activists have asked these uncomfortable questions to the government.
IPC 498A has brought in large scale elder abuse. Apart from undergoing humiliation and harassment in the police station, courts etc and after running after the court for many years are acquitted. Such acquittal is meaningless as over the years these aged parents go through depression, disease, harassment, humiliation, torture etc.

Along with IPC 498A, Domestic Violence Act also has become a cause of worry for the innocent elders on whom false cases under these laws are being booked. Under the Domestic Violence Act, if a daughter-in-law gives a complaint to the magistrate then the entire family of the husband including his aged old parents is thrown out from the house and is forced to stay away from their own house which they had built after years of struggle with their lifelong savings. In the name of protecting ‘a young married wife’ senior citizens are abused and are humiliated by a system which is insensitive to the needs of elderly people.

Thoughtful points


  • As per NCRB data 3500 senior citizens were falsely arrested last year due to the misuse of 498A. It means every 2.5 hours one senior citizen is getting arrested.
  • On a false complaint under Domestic Violence Act, aged old parents are thrown out of their house.
  • In the last leg of the life when aged old parents need care and affection are humiliated, harassed and arrested.
Demands of the NFHS
  • Elderly, aged old senior citizens should not be arrested merely on a false complaint of daughter-in-law when there is no evidence and complaint is lodged with ulterior motives.
  • Just as a ‘young married wife’ has right to stay in the house of the husband, similarly a law must be enacted for similar ‘right of residence’ for parents.
  • A new law must be enacted on the lines of IPC 498A where on a complaint by elderly parents of husband, there must be provision to arrest daughter-in-law if she is found harassing aged old parents of husband. This proposed law must be non-bailable similar to IPC 498A.
  • Government must make compulsory provisions of pension for elderly persons and make a new law for ‘right to live’ which will guarantee minimum monthly allowances.
  • In case the complaint of the daughter-in-law against aged parents of the husband is found false then there must be provisions to punishment for daughter-in-law which will act as a deterrent against further misuse of law.

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