Jammu: J&K government will constitute a Maintenance Tribunal for each sub division and one Appellate Tribunal in every district for adjudicating and deciding upon the orders for maintenance of parents and senior citizens in the Union Territory.
The tribunals will be constituted under the “Jammu and Kashmir Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Rules, 2021.”
“The Tribunal shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for all the purposes of section 195 and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973,” the rules prescribed.
The rules have been notified by Social Welfare Department (SWD) secretary Sheetal Nanda vide S.O 383 in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 32 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. The rules will come into force from the date of their notification in the official gazette.
Rules specify that the maximum maintenance allowance which a Tribunal may by order direct the opposite party to pay should not exceed Rs 10000 per month.
The rules notified also provided for the constitution of the Union Territory Council and District Committee of Senior Citizens.
“The government may, by order, establish a Union Territory Council of Senior Citizens to advise the government on effective implementation of the Act,” they added. Similarly, the government “may, by order, establish a District Committee of Senior Citizens for each district to advise for effective and co-ordinated implementation of the Act at district level, and to perform such other functions in relation to senior citizens at the district level, as the government may, specify.”
The rules also provided a scheme for management of old age homes established
under section 19 of the Act. As per rules, the Home should have physical facilities and will be run “in accordance with the operational norms as laid down in the Schedule.”
As per the rules, the Director General, Police will take all necessary steps, subject to such guidelines as the government may issue from time to time, for the protection of life and property of senior citizens.
The government will constitute for each sub division, one or more Tribunals as may be specified in the notification for the purpose of adjudicating and deciding upon the order for maintenance under section 5 of the Act. The Additional District Magistrate or Sub Divisional Magistrate concerned shall function as Presiding Officer of the Tribunal. The Presiding Officer may be assisted by such other officers as may be notified by the government. They may even include Tehsildar within the jurisdiction and the Deputy Superintendent of Police within the jurisdiction.
“The government will also constitute for each district, one Appellate Tribunal under section 15 of the Act, as may be specified in the notification for the purpose of hearing appeals against the order of the Tribunal,” the rules specify.
The Appellate Tribunal will be headed by the District Magistrate, who may be assisted by such other members as may be notified by the government. They may include Sub-Divisional Magistrate or Additional District Magistrate and Additional Superintendent of Police concerned district.
Every appointment of non- official members under these rules will be made by the government on the recommendations of a Selection Committee consisting of Administrative Secretary Social Welfare department as chairperson; Director Social Welfare, Kashmir/ Jammu as member(s); one representative from the State Council for Senior Citizens; Deputy Commissioner of the concerned district; one representative from academic bodies concerned with social work, psychology and sociology with experience of working on the issues of aged persons as members and any officer, not below the rank of Deputy Director, Social Welfare to be nominated by Social Welfare Department as member secretary.
“The Tribunal will hold its sittings for a minimum of two days a week, which may be increased/ decreased by the government depending on cases and pendency of work. It will perform the function of adjudicating and disposing of cases of maintenance to achieve the objectives of the Act and in this respect shall be guided by the provisions laid down under Chapter II of the Act,” the rules specified.
Every Tribunal will prepare a panel of persons suitable for appointment as Conciliation Officer under sub-section (6) of section 6 of the Act.
The Tribunal will have all the powers of a Civil Court for the purpose of taking evidence on oath and of enforcing the attendance of witnesses and of compelling the discovery and production of documents and material objects and for such other purposes as may be prescribed.
In case, despite service of notice, the opposite party fails to show cause in response to a notice, the Tribunal will proceed ex parte, by taking evidence of the applicant and making such other inquiry as it deems fit and will thereon pass on order disposing of the application.