You can file an application in a Maintenance Tribunal under the Maintenance And Welfare Of Parents And Senior Citizens Act, 2007. You can file with the Tribunal in the area where:
- You live currently, or
- Have lived in the past, or
- Where your children or relatives live.
Once you file an application with the Tribunal, you cannot file an application for maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (which also gives you the same right).
Process after filing an application
After you have filed an application (the format will vary from state to state), the court will first notify your children and tell them that you have filed such an application. Then, the court can decide to refer the case to a Conciliation Officer, who will try to get the parties to agree to a friendly settlement. If the court does not refer the case, it will listen to both the parties.
The court will conduct an inquiry to figure out how much maintenance you need to be paid. An inquiry is not a full-fledged legal proceeding. Even though the law does not allow for representation by lawyers in these courts, there are high court judgments which have held that this right of lawyers cannot be restricted. This court is slightly informal in nature but it has the powers of a civil court and can order attendance of witnesses, take evidence on oath, etc.
If the court finds that your children or relatives are neglecting to take care of you, it can pass an order directing them to pay a monthly maintenance. The court can also order that interest (between 5% and 8%) be paid on the maintenance amount from the date of the application. If your children or parents are not paying the maintenance even after the court order, you can go to any similar court (maintenance tribunal) and ask for help in enforcing the order.