Sinior Citizen Rights

Aging is a natural process, which leads to weakening of the body and the mind. The productivity and the working ability also decreases of a person. It is the duty of the state as well as the family of a person to take care of him in his old age. However, due to rampant illiteracy and lack of awareness, many senior citizens are not aware of their rights. This article seeks to discuss the rights and facilities available to the elderly. It also discusses the policies and initiatives taken by various ministries.

Provisions in the Constitution

Constitution of India envisages protecting the rights of the citizens of India, which include senior citizens as well. Under Part IV (Directive Principles of State Policy), provisions are Article 41 which directs the state to make effective provisions for securing Right to work and public assistance in certain cases which includes old age and Article 46 which directs the state to protect the economic interests of the weaker sections. The DPSP are fundamental in the governance of the country, but they are not enforceable in the Court of Law.


The legal right to claim maintenance is given under personal laws, Code of Criminal Procedure and Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. There are certain provisions relating to concessions under Income Tax Act from which senior citizens are benefitted.

Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007

The Act aims at providing maintenance to senior citizens in order to prevent their destitution. It also seeks to protect the life and property of the senior citizens. It envisages setting up Old Age Homes in every district. The definition of maintenance covers basic necessities of life. This Act applies to all the citizens of India, who have crossed the age of 60 years. Some of the important provisions of the Act are discussed herein.

  • A childless senior citizen can claim maintenance from any relative who possess his property or who would inherit it.
  • The state government is directed to constitute a tribunal which would hear the cases regarding maintenance
  • The maximum maintenance allowance is to be specified by the state government which should not exceed 10,000 per month.
  • There is the provision of imprisonment if a person defaults in the payment of maintenance as per the order of the tribunal.
  • The appeal against the order of the tribunal can be made to the appellate tribunal within a period of 60 days.
  • The tribunal may conduct a summary
  • The parties cannot engage a legal practitioner for the proceedings to cut the cost of the proceedings.
  • The Act provides for establishment of at least one old-age home in each district with a capacity to shelter 150 senior citizens.
  • A senior citizen can also cancel the transfer of his property by will or gift by applying to the tribunal.
  • The Act prescribes punishment for the abandonment of parents or senior citizens by a person who is liable to take care of them.

Benefits under Tax Laws

Senior citizens are entitled to certain tax benefits also. Some of the beneficial provisions of discussed herein.

  • The income tax slabs are different for senior citizens and super senior citizens. Income up to 3 lakhs for senior citizens and 5 lakhs for super-senior citizens is tax-free while 10% of income tax is levied on the income of 3-5 lakhs in case of senior citizens. (senior citizens: above 60 years of age, super seniors citizens: above 80 years of age)
  • The deduction allowed for payment of medical insurance premium is 20,000 for senior citizens under Section 80D of Income Tax Act, 1961.
  • In case the senior citizen does not have business income, they are exempted from paying Advance tax. They are only required to pay self-assessment tax
  • Deduction under section 80D as to deduction for the treatment of specified ailment is 60,000 for senior citizens.
  • The amount received by a senior citizen under reserve mortgage scheme is exempted from income tax.

Other Schemes for senior citizens

  • Under the National Old-age Pension Scheme Central Government is to pay a pension of INR 200 to senior citizens belonging to the BPL household. Another INR 200 is provided by the State Government.
  • The railway ministry provides a concession of 30% and 50% in railway fare to male and female senior citizen respectively above the age of 60 years.
  • The Civil Aviation Ministry provides a concession up to 50% for male senior citizen above 65 years of age and female senior citizen above 63 years of age through the National Carrier and Air India.
  • A public portal has been set up by the department of pensions and pensioner grievances which aims at providing all the information regarding the status, procedure, documents required, as to the application for pension. Complaints can also be lodged through the portal. The portal:

Apart from all these schemes and facilities, there are certain measures taken by the government under National Policy on Older Persons, 1999 whereby a separate bureau in the ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment for the senior citizens was set up. It also aimed at setting up of councils of older persons in the states, National Council for older persons and an autonomous National Association of Older Persons. These bodies are established to look into the problems of the elderly and work towards their solution.

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