Every person goes through the process of ageing at some point in their life. It simply reduces the functional capacity of an individual due to physiological changes. Since senior citizens possess varied ideas and many experiences, they are considered valuable resources to our society. All people are conscious of their moral obligation to support their parents. In the context of law, the position and scope of such liability are different from community to the community due to illiteracy or lack of knowledge, the majority of senior folks are uninformed of their rights. The most common concerns among Indian seniors are rising healthcare costs, a lack of financial support, and isolation. Additionally, the majority of the elderly do not get the support and care that they need. Because of this, looking after the elderly is of extreme importance nowadays. The primary causes of elderly loneliness are the breakdown of our conventional joint family structure as a result of the fast-changing socioeconomic environment, greater urbanization, higher aspirations among young people, and rising participation of women in the labour force. In metropolitan regions, the traditional joint family pattern is no longer common.

The elderly receive little financial assistance from the public or private sectors. Few of the majority of Indians who are employed qualify for a pension. Senior health insurance generally has a very low penetration rate and a very bad payout history. But as people age, healthcare expenditures continue to rise. More nuclear families result from the rapid socioeconomic change, another aspect making elder care management challenging. Particularly in the situation of active NRI kids in charge of taking care of their elderly parents. All of these factors contribute to the elderly being compelled to live independently at a time when they most need family support. Many of them are even denied access to the needs and basic rights they are entitled to. Due to social exclusion, isolation, and even non-performance of duty towards seniors in their old age, older people’s most basic rights are being violated.


In India, the Ministry of Justice and Empowerment is responsible for resolving any complaints regarding these provisions. One of the most fundamental societal responsibilities is providing for the needs of the elderly. Although most industrialized nations have laws and programs to ensure that no older citizen is denied their rights, low literacy rates in nations like ours mean that a sizable portion of the population is unaware of these protections. While the Senior Citizens Act is one of the most fundamental laws, other provisions of the Constitution also protect the basic rights and interests of the old. Some basic rights guaranteed to the elderly include the legal right to life and liberty under Article 21,[1] the right to be free from inhumane treatment, etc. The right of older citizens to employment, education, and public aid is guaranteed by Article 41 of the Indian Constitution. Additionally, it also guarantees that the nation must protect these rights in instances of illness, old age, or disability[2].

Article 46, on the other hand, states that the state must defend the elderly’s economic and educational rights[3].

Although these clauses are part of the DPSPs and hence are not legally enforceable, they serve as the foundation for all future legislation[4]. In India, policies have been developed over time to take care of the elderly’s requirements. Such regulations can be classified into three categories: the constitutional rules, the legal provisions, and the treatment of the aged under personal laws. S. 125 of CrPC is devoted to parent upkeep[5].

One of the most significant government policies and programs for older people is the National Policy for Older Persons, established in the year 1999. This policy aimed to improve the health, safety, social security, and overall well-being of the elderly generation. The National Council for Older Persons was formulated under the guidance and supervision of The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, to create programs and policies expressly for the elderly, as well as to counsel and offer an opinion to the government on how to carry out policies. In the year 2007, the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was passed. Children or relatives are required and justified by tribunals to support their parents or elderly relatives[6]. The sense of security for the old becomes a crucial issue to be addressed, especially in a diverse, and urbanized geographical area like Delhi, with the worldwide foundation of human rights for the elderly generation as a backdrop.


Human rights are those fundamental freedoms that are inherent in all people and are given to them at birth. These rights are given to individuals by the virtue of them being a member of the human community and staying with them even after they perish. These rights also apply to elderly people. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights[7], laid the groundwork for granting human rights to everyone,. This document did not specifically mention the rights of the elderly population but it set a core idea through article 120[8]. The Vienna International Plan of Action on Aging, produced by the First World Assembly on Ageing in 1982[9] was the first-ever international document on the concept of ageing. This document put great emphasis on social welfare, financial security, and health. This document also set forth its guiding ideas and suggestions on the same. In the year 1991, the ‘United Nations Principles on Older Persons’[10]were framed and adopted which covered the guidelines on independence, dignity, and care of the older generation. These guidelines were related to giving the elderly the option to work, make their own decisions, access healthcare and medical facilities, security and dignity, and many more.

The Second World Assembly adopted the “Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing” in the year 2002[11] which for the first time combined the social and economic development of older people. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which expressly addresses older women with disabilities, was adopted in 2006[12]. But the main question is whether or not old age qualifies as a disability. We must abandon the outdated idea of disability, which limits it to only physical or mental limitations. The fact that none of the foregoing international declarations and agreements is legally binding is the main issue. This indicates that, despite having signed international agreements, it is up to the individual countries whether they want to enact them into domestic law. There is no strict enforcement power to apply such rules even if a Nation refuses to adopt them. Hence, these are seen as a soft kind of international law.


The government of India periodically announces laws, regulations, and programs aimed at ensuring the well-being of elderly citizens. But, the fact that the status of the old has not changed is due to the way we currently treat them in society. Even though facilities are offered, it is well known that it is hard to discern who has been using them and who hasn’t. The current treatment of senior citizens has to alter. Specific methods and approaches at various levels of policymaking are needed to make the most of this enormous human resource and encourage their involvement and participation in the mainstream of socio-economic development on a bigger scale. By participating, their social isolation must vanish, and their general level of happiness must increase. Any endeavour to garner the support of the elderly must also include some sort of package of services designed to enhance their standard of living and develop an old-specific social security system.

Last but not least, to prevent the pollution of our strong Indian values, where parents are revered as God in earthly form, a strong and sensitive civil society must be formed in addition to governmental will in support of the protection of senior folks.

Author(s) Name: Arsheya Chaudhry (Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, New Delhi)


[1] Constitution of India 1950, art 21

[2] Constitution of India 1950, art 41

[3] Constitution of India 1950, art 46

[4] Constitution of India 1950, part IV

[5] Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, s 125

[6]‘Maintenance And Welfare Of Parents And Senior Citizens Act, 2007’ (Legal Services India) <https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-9325-maintenance-and-welfare-of-parents-and-senior-citizens-act-2007.html > accessed 03 March 2023

[7] United Nations Declaration of Human Rights 1948

[8] Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, art 120

[9] Vienna International Plan of Action on Aging 1982

[10] United Nations Principles on Older Persons 1991

[11] Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing 2002

[12] Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006

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