Take Care of Your Parents – Bombay High Court

5 min read 

 

I’d like to share a recent incident that shook me a bit, and got me thinking.  

A few days back, my mother called me up, requesting for some urgent financial help. The amount in question was not much. Yet, she insisted that I discuss this with my husband, and seek his ‘approval’, before wiring the money. For a second, I was taken aback. A mixed bag of emotions, from anger to inadequacy, had crept in & it was hard for me to continue the conversation

My husband, on overhearing this, the gentleman that he is, offered to take over the conversation. He reassured my mother, that her daughter did not need his ‘permission’, for spending the money that was hard earned by her. He further added, that had he been in my place, he would have ‘informed’, and even ‘discussed’ this issue with me, but not sought my ‘approval’, and the rules should be no different for me.

I wondered why my mother, a fiercely independent woman who worked till her sixties, would say such a thing?

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The Bombay High Court recently came out with an order stating that married daughters are obligated to take care of their parents. Section 125(1)(d) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, gives courts the right to compel someone to maintain their parents provided that they have sufficient means to do so.

The High Court order is a welcome verdict. It puts the daughters on an even keel with sons as far as financial responsibilities towards parents are concerned. It tells the society that women have as much right to take care of their elderly parents, as men.

Yes, I know the contours of our society will take its time to change, but steps like these are needed. And it is important for married couples, or even couples in a relationship, to openly talk about their financial obligations, if any, towards their parents, family and the like. I am hopeful of the day when the High Court order is understood by the youth of this country, in both letter and spirit.

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That said, does taking care of one’s parents end with a financial obligation. Being a part of Urban Company, I have used the app a number of times to book services for my folks back in Bangalore, be it carpentry, yoga services or home cleaning.

I was curious to do some research and understand cases of other women, like me, who’ve used the app to help their elderly parents in other cities. I spoke to three such customers, and was able to capture their thoughts on the verdict, and services they have tried –

Thoughts on the verdict

Ms. Vandana Puri shares “I don’t really need a court order to tell me I can take care of my parents. I married my husband ten years back and moved to Bangalore from Delhi. My elder brother stays in California with his family and can’t visit often because it would be really expensive. I help out because I want to and can.”

But what can a woman do if she is married and living far off in a different city? It is not only through financial help that one can take care of parents. What if aged parents need help in day to day life? From simple things as getting the AC repaired or the bathroom tap to function properly?

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She adds “I can’t be there with my parents physically all the time so I pre-pay any service they need. They were very happy with the home cleaning service that I had booked last week.”

Rising Crime Rates – A Concern

With rising cases of crime against the aged, isn’t safety a concern too?

Mrs. Chahat Gaur, recently had a CCTV installed through UrbanClap at her parent’s house. She says “My parents raised me and my sister and helped us become as successful as we are. They watched over us every minute of our life. Now that they are old, we can literally watch over them with the help of a CCTV camera installed through UrbanClap!”

Taking Care of the Elderly – It doesn’t stop at finances

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Another customer, Ms. Abha Sharma shares her thoughts on the ruling “The courts can’t really tell you to care for your parents right? My father is extremely proud and does not like to depend on me or my brother financially. A couple of months back, he was diagnosed with severe arthritis and could not do much. All I did was book a physiotherapist from Urban Company and he is already feeling a lot better! While a major part of taking care of your parents is the financial help you can give, but these small things can matter more sometimes.”

Most parents have an innate pride. It shows its first signs when their child is born. Whenever I ask my mom how she raised two kids, despite the hardships that life threw at her, she laughs and says “It was my duty”. Doesn’t it then become our duty to return the favor, and what does our gender have to do with that?

If we you wish to help out your parents, gift them a service today! Simply Click Here

17 Comments
  1. I am a housewife and my in laws don’t want me to work. Now that I have kids I’m happy to comply. How can I help my parents with money if I don’t work?

    1. Hey sapna

      Help is not necessarily financial in nature. You can also give them the time they need or show affection. Gift them a chef on demand who cooks up a gourmet meal for them on their anniversary or get their house cleaned when the maid doesn’t show up. Hope this helps you with the right ideas 🙂

  2. Sapna, you ask a very interesting question, one deep rooted in the Indian society and our psyche. You don’t earn money today, but you do contribute majorly to the household, by taking care of your kids, in laws, and the home. This allows your husband to peacefully work in office. In my opinion, like in all good marriages of equals, you have as much right to his earnings as he does. Consequently, you must also openly talk to him, about any financial help you want to extend to you parents, and this should be a ‘discussion’, not an ‘approval’.

  3. I know I am an equal and my work is as important…my child deserves the time he gets. His money is our money but sometimes money only won’t help. How would the court handle that?

  4. We should help parents. But parents are not looking for just money. They need time love and care. If you can’t give them money give them all that and no court can tell you how. This is natural, like the love of our parents.

  5. My parents are in Surat and I am in Kolkata . Sometimes feel really low when I want to see them on Skype and there is some problem at their end which they don’t know how to fix so such times I feel I could go and did it for them. Same day there are many such things when I don’t really know what to do.

  6. I thought this is a nice article about helping parents but the writer is promoting urban clap and this stupid app is in no way related to carrying for parents. Caring for parents is not about sending them plumber and electrician. Stop writing such nonsense in the middle of a noble topic.

    1. Hi Raji
      Thank you for taking the time out and reading the article. We really appreciate your comment. No app or anything for that matter can replace the child or the parent. We talk about the app not with the idea of selling it, but with the thought that how it can actually help if your parents are in a different city and you can’t tend to them. Yes a plumber doesn’t replace the affection, but sometimes small things matter.

  7. Can someone tell me which law is this, some code or name… i might have to use this against my husband if he doesn’t cooperate.

    1. Hey Namitha
      Section 125(1)(d) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, gives courts the right to compel someone to maintain their parents provided that they have sufficient means to do so.

  8. I agree with Raji regarding the nature of the article. It’s a very nice read but half way through you begin to realize it’s just one of those sentimental ads for an application/service. I do agree that the services you have mentioned might come in handy but it doesn’t in any sense replace or replicate the actual presence of a son/daughter. This is just an extended version of helping your parents financially.

    Helping your parents out and being there for them should be an involuntary choice irrespective of the gender rather than a forced law or duty. A law passed specific to the daughters shows the discrimination and state of the society.

    1. Hey Ashwin
      Thank you for taking the time out and reading the article. We also appreciate your comment. The reason we talk about our services is not so much from the point of view of selling our services, but how it can really help. Not just us, any app for that matter that can be used to pre-pay a service for the parents living in a different city. It does not replace children or their affection, it is not a substitute at all. But it is something that will help

      1. Hey Supriya,

        I do agree with you that they might help in certain situations and it sure does make it convenient when you are unable to be there in person.

        I haven’t personally used the app but yes I did download the app coz of the numerous ads in the radio when I used to drive to work but never ended up using it. So, I’m not sure whether people abroad might be able to pre-pay for the services for their family back in India. That would be a nice addition if it doesn’t involve all the OTP verification of an Indian mobile number and so on.

        One point I want to make here is the application/service should be stated as a convenience for anyone to help out their friends and family and not specially targeted on the daughters coz if a son is able to help his parents in person, the daughter should also be able to. We need a society where that is possible and it needs to be possible without a law being enforced upon.

  9. Thats quite a welcome change, i guess but society norms have to be changed. Though most of the girls want to do it instinctively and as per duty, but they are bound by society norms. On top of it, most of the times inlaws and in some cases husbands are not willing to let her do it.

    Now as the court orders it, she can help her parents candidly and legally. Without doubt, the parents raised their daughters with equal opportunities and love. So their duties should also be shared by daughters. Would love to see such positive change in our society.

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