senior citizens laws in india

Senior citizens constitute a substantial portion of the population in our country and it is imperative to safeguard their rights and interests. In India, seniors, face numerous difficulties and challenges which may be inter alia: (i) financial; (ii) physical; (iii) psychological; and (iv) emotional.

In India, a number of laws and legislations have been formulated to ensure protection and safeguard the interest of senior citizens. The Constitution of India (“CoI”), the central document demarcating the fundamental rights, directive principles, codes, powers, procedures, and duties of citizens and government bodies, etc. through the Directive Principles of State Policy provides that the State shall endeavor to make effective provisions for public assistance, promote educational and economic interest in cases of old age and provide protection from social injustice and any form of exploitation for the older section of the society [1].

In addition to the above, a number of personal laws, and central legislations deal with specific provisions to ensure protection, safety, security, and stability for senior citizens in the country. It should also be noted that in an evolving society, where issues and challenges faced by senior citizens keep changing, the Government has introduced bills and guidelines from time to time to ensure the safety and security of senior citizens in the country.

In this article, we have briefly dealt with the Indian laws and legislations, including personal laws, which provide for the protection of senior citizens in the country and the bill for amending the act dealing with the maintenance and welfare of senior citizen introduced in the Lok Sabha in the year 2019.

  • Laws & Legislations
  • The Code of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (“Code”). The Code gives parents, who have been neglected by the children, the right to claim maintenance if they are unable to maintain themselves[2]. There has been significant jurisprudence on this section by the Indian courts, though primarily in relation to maintenance of wives and children, but also from the perspective of aged parents.
  • The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 (“2007 Act”). The 2007 Act casts an obligation on adult children and adult grandchildren, both male and female, to pay maintenance to parents and grandparents. The 2007 Act further provides that in case a senior citizen doesn’t have children or adult grandchildren, they can also claim maintenance from a relative who either possesses his / her property or who will inherit his / her property after death.
  • The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (“Hindu Act”). The Hindu Act casts an obligation on all Hindus to maintain their aged or infirm parents in case the parents are unable to maintain themselves out of their own earnings or property[3].
  • The Muslim law, though not codified, provides that all children (sons and daughters) are jointly and equally bound to maintain their parents. Further, Muslim parents can take advantage of the provisions of the Code for their maintenance.
  • There are no specific personal laws for Christians and Parsis. Parents who wish to seek maintenance have to apply under provisions of the Code.

[1] By Akshit Kapoor, Managing Associate and Neha Sahgal, Associate.

[2] Chapter IV Article 41 of the CoI;

[3] Section 125 of the Code;

[4] Section 20 of the Hindu Act;

Medha Srivastava

About Medha Srivastava

Medha is Partner with Atlas Law Partners and has worked on a wide range of corporate transactions including M&A, private equity, banking and finance and corporate advisory work.

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