Gani Bhuiyan was waiting in the corridors of a Dhaka court. A judge would soon be hearing his case, which he had filed demanding allowance from his children.
It was not the first time the 85-year-old was attending a hearing. He had come a number of times to the same court. The case is yet to be settled.
Gani and his wife live in a flat in the capital's Rayer Bazar area.
His three children – two daughters and a son – own the flat in the five-storey building.
The building was constructed on a piece of land which Gani bought with his income from having worked in two Middle Eastern countries, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Gani worked in those countries for 12 years.
One of his daughters works at a primary school and his son works for a private company.
The children have only provided accommodation for the parents but they do not provide living expenses, leading the old couple to struggle financially.
That is why Gani on September 18 last year went to Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), an organisation that provides legal help.
At first, BLAST sent three notices to the defendants, asking them to reach a solution through mediation, but they did not respond.
The organisation then filed a case with Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate Court-5 under the Maintenance of Parents Act.
The court has heard from both parties and Gani's children have also managed to secure bail. The judge on Monday set October 6 for Gani's children to submit necessary documents.
Like Gani, a large number of elderly people in the country are not getting proper financial support from their children.
According to data from HelpAge International, a network of organisations helping older people claim their rights, and the Department of Population Sciences at the University of Dhaka, 83.3 percent of old people in Bangladesh complained of negligence and disrespect by family members.
Also, 54.4 percent said they do not get enough financial support from the family while 39.6 percent alleged that they had been tortured physically. Of those alleging physical torture, 54.5 percent are female.
The Bangladesh government enacted the Maintenance of Parents Act in 2013.
According to Section 3 of the law, every child has to provide maintenance for his or her parents.
If parents have many children, then it is the duty of the children to decide who will bear the expenses of the parents.
By law, the children have to provide the living costs of parents and have to live with them as well. The parents cannot be sent to old homes without consent.
According to Section 5 of the law, whoever fails to comply with Section 3 will be fined Tk1 lakh.
Upon failure to pay the fine, the person will be subjected to rigorous imprisonment for three to six months.
A case under the law is compoundable and the person who has been accused can apply for bail, according to Section 7.
The aim of the law is to settle the case through discussions with both parties.
Court proceedings, however, take time because the law includes a bail section.
Despite enactment, the government has not finalised rules for the law yet.
"The law is very good. But the government could not finalise the rules. As a result, the law is not being enforced properly", said Manjil Morshed, a Supreme Court lawyer.