Rights of the Elderly

The ‘UN Principles of Ageing’ (1982) is considered as the basic guidelines for promotion of the rights of senior citizens. The principles of the same are:

  •  Independence: 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.
  • Participation: Older Persons should remain integrated in society and participate actively in the formulation of policies which effect their well-being.
  • Care: Older Persons should have access to health care to help them maintain the optimum level of physical, mental and emotional well-being.
  • Self-Fulfilment: 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.
  • Dignity: Older Persons should be able to live in dignity and security and should be free from exploitation and mental and physical abuse.

Senior Citizens in India are protected under the following provisions of the Constitution:

  •  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.

    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

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