Madho Ram, 85, and Kalawati, 75, have nowhere to go. Their sons have confined them to a small room and have taken control of their house at Saketri village in Panchkula. The elderly couple has been subjected to physical and mental abuse for the past few months.
The hapless couple cannot plead their case as the tribunal set up to settle cases under the Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, in Panchkula district has been lying defunct for the past over six months.
Madho and Kalawati have four sons — Nirmal, Darshan, Ramesh and Shamsher. “I had built the house but Darshan, Ramesh and Shamsher grabbed the property in our absence. They, along with their wives, often thrash us and even threaten to kill us. I have been confined to a small room while they have rented out a major portion of the house. No one is taking care of us. The fourth son, Nirmal, gives us food,” said Madho.
Madho says four rooms have been occupied by his three sons. They broke open the locks and occupied them while giving one on rent, he added. The couple has been making rounds of the deputy commissioner’s office to plead their case, but to no avail. Earlier, the three-member tribunal under a sub-divisional magistrate used to look after such complainants and a number of elderly people got relief in no time. But now, the tribunal ceases to function as the government has failed to nominate two members since December 2015.
“The tribunal was not functioning when I joined. I have apprised the department concerned. As of now, we are carrying out hearings but no action can be taken,” said SDM Radhika Singh.
The appellate tribunal under deputy commissioner has also been lying defunct.
Additional chief secretary, social justice and empowerment, Sunil Gulati, told HT: “New members have not been nominated. The members nominated earlier can continue. They will also be given honorarium now.”