Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens

Welfare of Parents

When one thinks about the maintenance of senior citizens, the very idea (considered to be a natural phenomenon) and the exorbitant lack of the same practice would seem highly unlikely (and extremely surprising) in a country such as ours, which has been boasting about an elderly friend and revering culture.

The recent years have seen a paradigm shift, from treating senior citizens in one’s society with the utmost care and concern to a rise in the number of deplorable and unpardonable cases where the senior citizens have been untended and extremely neglected.

It was only natural that a democratic government, such as ours, acted upon the essence of its existence, i.e. to recognize the need of the hour and to try and rectify the same with a corresponding legislation; The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act was implemented in 2007 so as to provide senior citizens (those above the age of 60) with a right to maintenance. According to the act, maintenance could include the provision of food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, recreational activities and also medical attendance. Such maintenance can also be in the form of a monetary sum not exceeding Rs. 10,000/month. The basic aim of the act is to ensure the welfare of the senior citizens and thus they are legally entitled to claim it from either their children or relatives (those who are in control of their property or are to inherit it). The penalties for non-compliance with the orders of the tribunal consisting of fines as well as imprisonment for the duration of a month.

The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act is a wonderful start to enforce and make justiciable a moral duty, forgotten in the glorying age of consumerism and materialism.  However, the real question is, are legislations affective in dictating a norm as subjective as morality? The answer I believe is yes. The proof lies in the rather tumultuously created yet efficacious pudding. As a result of the act, many cases of unjust with the elderly have surfaced and many more senior citizens would be granted the justice they deserve once the population is educated about the act and its provisions.

To conclude, I would like to reiterate that maintenance of the elderly which was initially considered to be merely a moral duty is now being enforced as a legal duty and that step, though tough to implement, has great scope in a country like India where the elderly were left with no remedies for sustenance beyond the age of retirement.



It’s the Indian society’s centuries old traditions which teaches us inter alia that, it is our duty to respect and listen to our elders, not because they are always right but because they have more experiences of being wrong. In return of all the teachings and words of wisdom, we must provide them care and ensure that they live with security and dignity in their last phase of life, more so now, since nowadays they are forced to live alone and are thus exposed to the vulnerabilities of life.

The Constitution through Articles 41&46 lays down Directives whereby States shall make provisions securing work & public assistance to the elderly and promote the economic interest of the weaker sections of the society respectively.

These are not wrinkles

Eventually, The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 was enacted with the object of providing welfare and maintenance to parents & senior citizens and a speedy-inexpensive mechanism for protecting their life and property. It envisages setting up of Old Age Homes in every district. It imposes obligation on the children/relatives (if no children/grandchildren) of the parents/grandparents to maintain them so that they can lead a normal life. Maintenance constitutes provision for food, clothing, residence and medical treatment. The Tribunal can award maximum ₹10,000/m.

Personal laws of the Hindus[3], Muslims and Section 125 Crpc makes it obligatory to maintain ones aged parents only if they are unable to maintain themselves out of their own earnings.

Maintaining elders is our MORAL DUTY and once this is accepted nationally, there will be no abandoned/destitute elder roaming around in the streets looking for shelter because-

[1] The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

[2] Rules under the Maintenance & Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, Clause 15.

[3] The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, Section 20.