Madurai: Senior citizens are not aware of the law that protects their interest.

This has been observed by the Madras high court on Monday while viewing that it was the responsibility of the central and state governments to give wide publicity to the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

“Some senior citizens were not aware of the protection of life and property available to them under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007”,  said a division bench of court’s Madurai bench comprising of justices S Vimala and T Krishnavalli. The court was hearing a plea by three persons convicted by a lower court for murdering an elderly person. The bench partly allowed the appeal filed by the trio, two of whom were sentenced to rigorous life imprisonment by Theni principal district and sessions court last year.

Three persons— Renganathan, his wife and one Amirtharaj— were accused of murdering an estate owner in 2012.

The estate owner, who was estranged from his wife for 25 years, had bequeathed his property to Renganathan in 2010.

He, however, wanted to change the will in favour of his son following which he was murdered by Renganathan with the help of his wife and the owner’s cousin Amirtharaj.

The bench said the incident would not have taken place if the deceased had known that he was entitled to write any number of wills till his death by revoking the previous one, and that the will itself would come into operation after his death.

What did not occur to his (estate owner’s) mind was that the very same rule of the will coming into effect only after his death had operated as an instigation to an accused (Renganathan) to expedite the owner’s death, it said.

Highlighting the protection available to senior citizens under the Act, the judges directed that there should be effective coordination between the services provided by ministries concerned or to address issues relating to the welfare of senior citizens and periodical review of the same.

Following a complaint from the estranged wife, police arrested the three.

The lower court had sentenced Renganathan and his wife to rigorous life imprisonment, while Amirtharaj was given three years imprisonment.

The bench today said the prosecution had proved beyond doubt that Renganathan murdered the owner with the intention of enjoying the property bequeathed to him after the latter’s death.

The court confirmed the lower court’s sentence and Rs 5,000 fine was imposed on Renganathan.

However, the bench added that evidence was lacking with regard to the role of Renganathan’s wife and Amirtharaj in the crime, and acquitted them.