Rights of Senior Citizens

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Rights of Senior Citizens

The document ‘UN Principles of Ageing’ (1982) is considered the basic guideline for promotion of the rights of senior citizens.

The five principles are :


Older persons should have access to adequate food, water, shelter, clothing and health care through the provision of income, family and community support and self-help. Older persons should have the opportunity to work or to have access to other income-generating opportunities.


Older Persons should remain integrated in society and participate actively in the formulation of policies which effect their well-being.


Older Persons should have access to health care to help them maintain the optimum level of physical, mental and emotional well-being.


Older Persons should be able to pursue opportunities for the full development of their potential and have access to educational, cultural, spiritual and recreational resources of society.


Older Persons should be able to live in dignity and security and should be free from exploitation and mental and physical abuse.

In India senior citizens are protected under the following provisions :

 Article 41 :Right to work, to education and to public assistance in certain cases :

The State shall, within the limits of economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.

 Article 46 :Promotion of educational and economic interests of ....... and other weaker sections :

The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people.....and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.

However, these provisions are included in the Chapter IV i.e., Directive Principles of the Indian Constitution. The Directive Principles, as stated in Article 37, are not enforceable by any court of law. But Directive Principles impose positive obligations on the state, i.e., what it should do.

The Directive Principles are fundamental in the governance of the country and the state has been placed under an obligation to apply them in making laws.

Violation of the rights of senior citizens can be challenged under provisions of two Acts in India :

  • The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (1956)
  • The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007