In this blogpost, Sreeraj.K.V, Student, Government law college, Kerala writes about the rights of senior citizens in India.
It is a natural law that if we are born once, we will have to leave this Earth one day. We have to face many difficult situations to run the vehicle of our life. When a person is aging his physical, mental as well as economic perceptions change drastically which changes him from an independent to a dependent person. Here comes the importance of providing certain rights to such elders of the society. There is a question that arises at this point of time, that whether this is a right to be enforced in favour of the seniors of the society or it is a mandatory moral duty of each and every person of this country to look after their parents. It is irrelevant to see to the age of his/her parents and whether they have crossed the age of 60 or not. It can be stated undoubtedly that the so-called rights of the senior citizens are more than rights they are the duty of each and every other person.
While looking through a common man’s perspective, people who crossed the age of 60 will be considered as one who need proper care and medication as best as possible which shall be provided by his/her children and relatives. In many families, elders are treated as burden. Law gives certain remedies for senior citizens who are not treated well.
A senior citizen is the one who has crossed the age of 60. The Indian government provides concession, financial assistance for senior citizens. There are various public/private sectors of the society providing aids for them. We can proudly say that our country has many laws and enactments which play a vital role in protecting the rights of senior citizens.
Article 41 of the Constitution of India provides for right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases. Article 46 provides for promotion of educational and economic interests of scheduled caste, tribes and other weaker section of the society. The significance of these Articles is that in one point or the other, Article 41 can be made applicable for the senior citizen and Article 46 provides certain educational and economic interests for the people who are of weaker sections of the society.
Rights of senior citizen
There are certain rights which are provided by various Laws of our country in favour of senior citizen. Some of them include:
- Right for maintenance by children and relatives
- Right for proper medical aids and other related problems
- Right for social security and integrity
- Right for old age pensions and other related benefits.
- Right against exploitation and ill treatment by others
Our society has various customary practices and moral principles in itself. Maintenance of our parents and guardians plays a crucial role among these principles. In India we mainly have Indian Adoption and Maintenance Act along with Maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens Act to protect elders especially for the people who crossed the age of 60.
Section 20(3) of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act provides for the obligation of a person to maintain his or her parent whenever they are unable to look after themselves. This provision does not make it mandatory that each and every person, whether male or female, they has to look after their parents, but the law turns to be mandatory when there is a violation in maintaining our parents. While going through the Muslim Law of maintenance, same principle has been applied, i.e. every person is bound to look after their parents according to their financial capability. On the other hand there is no separate provision regarding maintenance in Christian Law but persons in need of maintenance can claim under section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
There is yet another provision regarding the rights for older people which is well enumerated in various provisions under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. Under this Act, there is a clear picture regarding the definitions of parents as well as senior citizens which is provided in chapter 1 and their maintenance and related provisions in chapter 2. The Act makes it mandatory that senior citizens as well as parents who are unable to look after themselves, are to be maintained so as to earn a good living. Even though there are such strong enactments in our country, rights of senior citizens and other elderly people are still locked inside the four walls of such statutes. In this context, there comes the importance of various government/non-government organisations working in favour of such elderly people of the society. Many organisations in our country plays a pivotal role in looking after senior citizens and many other legal and Para- legal organisations stands for their rights. The most appreciable part is that such organisations are running free of cost for the ones who are in need of care and protection
As a conclusion, it can be thus stated that there are various problems faced by senior citizen of our country like lack of proper care, good medication and negligence from the part of family members as well as the society and various acts which may affect even their life and property as well. Government has implemented various schemes and projects like pension scheme in favour of the senior citizens of the society. Above all such benefits, they are in need of love, care and affection from their relatives and the society.We have to just keep this in our mind that our attitude towards them should be positively changed so that they also will have a better tomorrow.Democracy is for all, and should be for all.
 Section 125 crPC – Maintenance for wives, children and parents