Critically discuss the constitutional, legislative and policy provisions for safeguard of rights of Senior Citizens of India.
India has adopted the concept of welfare state. Due attention has been provided in the constitutional, legislative and policy provisions to safeguard rights of senior citizens. As per UNESCO estimates about 18% of population would be senior citizens by 2025.
- Article 41states that “the state shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for old age, sickness and disablement and in other cases of underserved want.”
- Directive principles of state policy promote welfare of the weaker sections of the society as a whole which explicitly also includes senior citizens.
- Under the Hindu personal laws, every Hindu has the obligation to take care of their aged parents who are not able to maintain and take care of themselves.
- Section 20of the Hindu adoption and maintenance act, 1956, makes it an obligatory provision to maintain an aged parent.
- Muslim law makes it obligatory for a man to provide maintenance for his father, mother, grandfather and grandmother.
- According to Mulla, the children are bound to maintain their parents if the latter is able to earn for themselves.
- Under the Shia law, both the parents, i.e., parents, and grandparents are treated equally and are given an equal quantum of maintenance but the parents are given more preference towards the grandparents.
Other legal provisions
- Under Section 125 of Criminal Procedure Code,the elder parents can claim maintenance from their children. It makes it obligatory for sons and daughters, including a married daughter, to maintain their parents.
- Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007
- National senior citizens policy 2011.
- 18 Principles passed and adopted by UN General Assembly.
These provisions have brought a renewed focus and concentrated approach towards senior citizens.
But these measures have not yielded the desired results
- The explicit directive for welfare of senior citizens is under directive principles of state policy which is non-justicable. No explicit rights under fundamental rights.
- The slow pace of judiciary which is over burdened is not able to cater to need of the situation.
- Also the senior citizens are hesitant to take the legal route in defending of their rights.
Effective social security net is the need of the hour. India would be witnessing higher number of senior citizens especially in southern states effective policy measures with due concentration towards regional contributions must be formulated to effectively cater to the challenge.