Rights of Parents & Duties of Children under Maintenance of Parents & Senior Citizen Act 2007ost

With Judgements

Sonali Das

7/24/20239 min read


The term "maintenance" has several different meanings. The most exact definition is found in Sec 3(b) of the Hindu Adoption & Maintenance (HAMA) Act, 1956, which states: "In all cases, provisions for food, clothing, residence, education, and medical treatment; in the case of a daughter who is not married, also the reasonable expenses of an incident to her marriage."

Section 2(b) of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 defines maintenance as food, clothes, housing, medical attendance, and treatment. The right to support parents and older citizens is granted under Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973, as well as other personal laws such as the Hindu Adoption and Support Act 1956; however, there is no provision for the maintenance of elderly parents under Christian or Parsi law.

The Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens (MWPSC) Act, 2007

The above-said Act is a piece of legislation proposed by the Indian Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment of the Govt. of India to enhance the maintenance and well-being of parents and elderly people. The Parliament of India passed the MWP Act 2007 in December 2007. It is divided into seven chapters and 32 parts. As defined under Section 4 (1) of the Maintenance & Welfare of Parents and senior citizens (MWPSC) Act, 2007. A senior citizen, including a parent, cannot maintain himself from his earnings or out of the property owned by him or, according to this statute; a senior citizen is any Indian citizen who is 60 years of age or older. The statute makes it a legal requirement for children and heirs to give monthly maintenance to older adults and parents. The statute establishes a low-cost and quick method for claiming monthly support for parents and older persons.

Rights of Parents under the Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizen Act, 2007

The 2007 Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizen Act recognizes parents' fundamental rights, assuring their well-being and security in their golden years. The Act recognizes parents' right to receive maintenance from their children and live a decent life. These rights are not limited to financial assistance but include other characteristics required for a good and pleasant existence.

1. Right to Maintenance: The Act requires children to offer financial support to their parents when they cannot support themselves adequately. This includes cash assistance for food, clothes, shelter, medical needs, and other necessities. Children have a legal responsibility to see that their parents' financial requirements are satisfied appropriately.

2. Forming Maintenance Tribunals: The legislation calls for establishing maintenance tribunals in each district, making it simpler for seniors and parents to seek justice.

3. Senior Citizen Rehabilitation: The legislation compels the government to take steps to rehabilitate older individuals who are unable to care for themselves, therefore enhancing their quality of life.

4. Punishment for Noncompliance: The legislation penalizes children or legal heirs who fail to give maintenance to their parents or older people, guaranteeing responsibility and the law's implementation.

5. Promoting intergenerational responsibility: The legislation emphasizes the significance of intergenerational duty, with children and legal heirs accountable for maintaining their parents or older citizens.

6. Physical and Emotional Well-being: Parents have the right to be physically and emotionally cared for. Children are expected to create a safe and secure environment for their parents and meet their physical and emotional needs. This involves regular health checks, access to healthcare, and companionship.

7. Dignity and Respect: Parents have the right to be treated with dignity and respect by their children. The Act emphasizes the importance of children honoring and valuing their parents by showing them love, care, and emotional support. Maintaining a happy connection that encourages mutual respect and understanding between generations is critical.

What are the eligibility criteria for senior citizens to claim maintenance under the Act?

1. Age: A senior citizen is defined as any Indian citizen who is sixty or older.

2. Inability to support oneself: The elderly person must be unable to support himself/herself from his/her wages or possessions.

3. Maintenance from children: An elderly individual may seek maintenance from his or her children or legal heirs who are financially capable of paying support.

4. No other maintenance: The older citizen should not receive any other maintenance from anyone.

Duties of Children under the Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizen Act, 2007

The Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizens (MPSC) Act of 2007 imposes strict obligations on children to perform their obligations to their ageing parents. These are not just moral and ethical obligations but also legal ones.

1. Protection and security: Children should offer a safe and secure environment for their ageing parents. They must safeguard their parents' physical safety, living circumstances, and protection from abuse or mistreatment. Children should be proactive in recognizing and reducing any threats to their parents' health, including physical and mental.

2. Safety and security: Children must provide a safe and secure environment for their ageing parents. They must ensure their parents' physical safety, housing conditions, and safety from abuse or mistreatment. Children must be proactive in identifying and mitigating any hazards to their parents' health.

3. Physical Care: It is the responsibility of children to ensure that their parents are physically well-cared for. Addressing their medical requirements, accompanying them to medical appointments, and ensuring they receive adequate healthcare services are all part of this. Children should take an active role in their parents' health management, ensuring that their parents live a healthy and satisfying life.

The new amendment bill 2019 has the following changes

1. Establish registration and minimum standards for Senior Citizens' Care Homes, Multi-Service Day Care Centres for Senior Citizens, and Institutions providing Homecare Services for Senior Citizens;

2. Establishes a Special Police Unit for Senior Citizens in each district, as well as Senior Citizens Nodal Officers at each Police Station;

3. Maintain a Senior Citizen Helpline; Offences and punishments (severe fines for individuals who ignore or leave their parents or senior citizens).

4. The Act makes abandoning an older person or parent punishable by up to three months in prison or a fine of up to Rs 5,000, or both. The punishment is now three to six months in prison, a fine of up to Rs 10,000, or both. If the children or relatives fail to comply with the maintenance order, the Tribunal may issue a warrant to levy the appropriate amount. Failure to pay the fine may result in a one-month jail term or imprisonment until the payment is paid, whichever comes first.

Challenges and Implementation Mechanisms

The efficient execution of the Maintenance Act 2007 necessitates collaboration among numerous parties, including government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the courts. Overcoming obstacles such as knowledge, enforcement, and financial stability would improve the legislation and defend parents' rights. Here are several strategies that may be used to alleviate these issues:

1. Creating Maintenance Tribunals: The legislation calls for establishing maintenance tribunals in each district, making it simpler for seniors and parents to seek justice. These tribunals can assist in ensuring that maintenance payments are received on time and that the rights of parents are maintained.

2. Rehabilitation of Senior Citizens: The legislation compels the government to take steps to rehabilitate older individuals who are unable to care for themselves, therefore enhancing their quality of life. This includes giving them access to healthcare, social services, and other assistance.

3. Addressing Financial Limits: The government confronts financial limits in executing the Act's requirements, making it harder to establish old-age homes and give other types of assistance to elderly residents.

4. Raising Awareness: Many people are unaware of the terms of the Maintenance Act 2007, making enforcement difficult. Raising awareness through public education campaigns and other outreach initiatives can assist in guaranteeing that parents and older persons are aware of their rights and can safeguard them.

Important Case Laws

1. In the case of V Surendranath Reddy v. District Collector & Ors, the petitioner filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the HC of Kerala, underlining the absence of appropriate execution of the requirements under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. The petitioner claimed that there were countless incidents of elderly parents being mistreated and abandoned by their children and that they were not receiving the care and assistance they were entitled to under the law.

The petitioner further claimed that, despite the presence of law, the relevant authorities had failed to take sufficient measures to safeguard elderly persons' care and sustenance. The PIL sought the court's attention to this matter and its action in executing the Act's provisions.

Judgement – While hearing the case, the Kerala High Court recognized the gravity of the matter and the need for immediate action to preserve the rights of older residents. The court noted that the 2007 Act for the Maintenance & Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens was adopted to give social justice to older people abandoned by their offspring.

The court expressed worry over a lack of information on the Act's contents among the general public and competent authorities, which failed to execute it. It was noticed that the legislation required the formation of tribunals at various levels to resolve the problems of elderly persons, but these tribunals were not working efficiently.

In its decision, the court instructed District Collectors and police stations throughout Kerala to guarantee the Act's efficient implementation. It directed the authorities to make the necessary efforts to raise public knowledge about the provisions of the legislation and to undertake suitable measures to resolve the problems of elderly citizens as soon as possible. The court emphasized that the well and upkeep of older persons were vital and that it was society's, the government's, and the courts' common obligation to defend their rights. It also encouraged authorities to take harsh measures against individuals who ignored or abandoned their elderly parents in line with the Act's requirements.

This decision by the Kerala High Court in V. Surendranath Reddy v. District Collector & Ors was a significant step towards ensuring the well-being and protection of senior citizens in India, and it highlighted the importance of proper implementation and enforcement of laws pertaining to their rights and welfare.

2. The issue in Aruna Ahluwalia v. Superintendent, Tihar Jail & Others, Crl. Writ No. 239 of 2014 was about the welfare and upkeep of elderly persons within jail grounds. Aruna Ahluwalia, the petitioner, asked the court to intervene to secure sufficient care and assistance for senior detainees at Tihar Jail, a jail in Delhi.

The petitioner claimed that older adults in detention suffered severe challenges and were frequently mistreated, causing their physical and mental health to deteriorate. It was further argued that these conditions

violated the elderly detainees' constitutional rights. The petitioner requested that the prison authorities make efforts to safeguard the care and maintenance of senior people, as required under the Maintenance and Care of Parents and Senior People Act of 2007.

Judgment - In its decision, the court acknowledged the petitioner's valid concerns and emphasized the necessity of preserving the rights and well-being of older individuals, including those inside the jail system. According to the terms of the aforementioned Act, the court instructed the authorities to take the necessary actions to secure the welfare and upkeep of older persons. It also emphasized providing sufficient medical facilities, counseling services, recreational activities, and other amenities to aged convicts.

The court also directed the formation of a committee comprised of representatives from various relevant departments, such as the prison administration, social welfare, and health department, to oversee the implementation of these measures and address any concerns about the welfare of senior citizens in Tihar Jail.

Overall, the decision, in this case, emphasized the importance of acknowledging and protecting the rights of senior citizens, even in extraordinary circumstances such as imprisonment, and emphasized the authorities' responsibility to provide adequate care and support for elderly inmates within jail premises.

Impact of the Act

The Maintenance Act of 2007 addresses the requirements of older persons by providing them with a decent existence and financial assistance from their offspring. Its effects can be evident in the enhanced well-being of aging parents, fewer cases of abandonment or neglect, and the development of social cohesiveness. The Act's Impact: The impact of the Act can be seen in the following ways:

1. Improved well-being of old parents: The legislation assures that senior persons get a dignified living and financial assistance from their offspring, resulting in an improvement in their well-being.

2. Reduced occurrences of abandonment or neglect: The Act has helped lessen cases of older adults being abandoned or neglected by their children or heirs.

3. Social cohesiveness has been strengthened by the legislation by encouraging children and heirs to care for their parents and older persons.

Overall, the legislation has been crucial in ensuring older residents' upkeep and well-being and safeguarding them from abuse and neglect. Its provisions have helped to offer a straightforward, affordable, and quick method for suffering parents to seek support, and the provisions benefit the childless. The purpose of passing this Act was to provide equality and upkeep to senior inhabitants while monitoring their well-being.


With the rising need to care for the elderly, the Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizens Act of 2007 is an important step towards recognizing parents' rights and children's obligations. Maintaining these rights and responsibilities is critical for creating a culture that values intergenerational support, respect, and compassion. It is critical that everybody remains aware of their legal responsibilities and contributes to a society that protects the well-being and dignity of its elderly.

(Edited & Posted By Lawful Bytes Team)

Sonali Das

3rd year

Army Institute of Law, Mohali