The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice decided to defer the Protection of Parents Bill after a heated, yet thorough, debate on its viability. There is no denying that there are countless clauses that require a second thought but, the need to extend protection to the vulnerable is vital. Thus, the government must create a mechanism for the prevention of maltreatment and enforcement of accountability.
The bill was introduced in light of the rising number of cases reported according to which elderly parents were often evicted from their homes or suffered from abuse at the hands of their children. This was especially the case for those who had already given the green light for their offspring to receive their inheritance. While many claim that this is an issue that affects a minute portion of society, the fact it exists should be enough to inspire action. Furthermore, many cases have already been registered. This means that they will be taken to court regardless. Thus, having a specified bill that caters to such crimes, outside of just deterring it, will prove to be a great aid for the justice system.
There have been arguments made against this bill based on the belief that such matters should be handled by the families alone and personally. What must be understood is that the state often interferes in private matters when the well-being—physical, emotional or financial—of an individual is at stake–in the case of inheritance cases or domestic abuse for instance. Ill-treatment shown towards parents is no different and protective measures must be taken.
However, some of the criticism levied against the bill is still valid. The overall jail term of one year and monetary fines should be reconsidered, especially considering that there will be additional costs of legal counsel. Accordingly, the NA Committee made recommendations that were neglected, prompting it to voice its dissatisfaction and defer the bill for being uninformed. It would be best if the Federal Ministry of Law adopted a more proactive approach and amended the bill to incorporate suggestions.