BENGALURU : When Ramachandrappa (name changed) approached the senior citizens’ helpline in the city recently to lodge a complaint against his three daughters for not taking care of him, the case did not come across as a shock or surprise for counsellors at the centre. They say despite laws in place that seek to ensure provision of maintenance for the elders, instances of children neglecting their old parents are not as rare as the Indian ‘family-oriented’ society would like to believe.
Ramachandrappa (87) had filed a complaint, saying he had given properties to each of his three daughters, but the second one reconstructed the building and gave it out on lease. He had also given Rs 60 lakh to his youngest daughter on the assurance that he would be taken care of. But she said she had spent Rs 5 lakh on the medical expenses of their crippled mother.
When the second daughter was called to the Elders’ Helpline 1090, a joint project of Nightingales Medical Trust (NMT) and Bangalore City Police, she argued that she took care of them for over 20 years and that they had just moved in with the third sibling. It was eventually agreed that the two older daughters would pitch in Rs 7,000 per month while the couple would live with the youngest daughter.
The helpline says it sees 5-8 cases a month, where children do not pay maintenance amount covering food, clothing, living and medical expenses for their elderly parents. The amount can go up to Rs 10,000 per month. According to their data, out of 418 complaints registered from April 2018 to February 2019, 125 cases involved elders being harassed/cheated by family members, like the case of 77-year-old Murulai Pillai, who discovered that his son conned him into selling his property by promising to buy another one in joint names, but instead went ahead to purchase one solely owned by him.
“We try to solve cases amicably. Not all children are willing to pay the maintenance, which leads to a conflict. We counsel them that everyone needs to be involved in taking care of their parents,” Sandhya, project in-charge at the helpline, said. “We also get cases about seniors asking for more money, or inheriting property,” she added.