Life is a very beautiful gift given by god and aging is one of the most important elements of it. As we slowly and gradually enter into old age we tend to experience some changes and may have some disabilities which are normal at this age. People in this age need to be supported in every possible way whether emotionally, financially, physically, or mentally. But the self-centered attitude and continuous shift towards the western culture have debilitated the hold of social qualities and morals in the new age, the rising voracity among individuals and their consistent craving to be rich and strong make them take part in senior maltreatment and take advantage of their folks genuinely and intellectually to drive them to surrender their property and different resources for their kids. To protect the elderly from such maltreatment laws are enacted in their favor which is not only protecting them but is also empowering them. One such right is the right to evict the son from the property owned by the father which is reflected through two important landmark judgments.
Landmark Judgement of Namdeo Bangde vs the State of Maharashtra
“The emotional and physical well-being of the aged parents cannot be ensured unless the petitioners vacate the self-acquired residential house.”
Brief facts of the Case:
In this case, the parents filed their complaint before the Tribunal under Section 5 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 claiming that they were being mentally and physically harassed by their son and daughter-in-law. Before the Court, the parents argued that their son had forcibly taken possession of a portion of the said house and it would pose a serious threat to their safety and security.
The father argued that he is a heart patient and needs to undergo surgery but has not been able to for lack of funds. Further, he said that the son must be made to vacate the illegally occupied area because that can be used for rental income to better maintain themselves.
The son argued that his father is not a heart patient but is a mental patient and does not need any maintenance. He also argued that the tribunal committed a jurisdictional error in eventually treating the application under Section 5 of the Act as a suit for eviction.
Hon’ble Court noted that a learned Single Judge of this Hon’ble Court has held in Shri Santosh Surendra Patil v. Shri Surendra Narasgopnda Patil & Ors. (2017 All MR (Cri) 4065) that there is no illegality in evicting sons from the residential house to ensure the peace of the senior citizen.
Court noted that converting the proceedings under Section 5 of the Act into a suit for eviction is not wrong a proposition of law. However, it added that if the senior citizens are harassed and have genuine reasons to perceive that their emotional and or physical well-being and security are under threat, there is no reason to hold that the Tribunal has no power to direct eviction.
In view of the above son’s petition, challenging the jurisdiction was dismissed as well as it was stated that all the pieces of evidence and the reply by the respondent clearly reflect that the son and the daughter-in-law have committed cruelty and mentally harassed their parents.
Landmark Judgement of Sunny Paul & Anr. vs. State NCT of Delhi & Ors
“Eviction of Children can be sought for in the absence of a claim for maintenance: Delhi High Court”
The purpose of the Act of 2007 is to safeguard the rights and interests of senior citizens against actions by their children in the form of harassment. The Delhi High Court was placed with two substantial questions of paramount importance as follows:
Whether the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 provide for a remedy to Senior Citizens/parents of monetary maintenance by the children/relative, or does it provide for eviction of adult children in case of parental abuse?
Whether a claim for eviction before the Maintenance Tribunal is maintainable under Section 23 of the Act of 2007 and that too on allegations of forcible ouster and in the absence of a claim for maintenance?
In this matter, the Bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V. Kamemswar Rao held that a claim for maintenance is not a precursor to passing an eviction order under Section 23 of the Act. The appellant contended that the absence of a claim for maintenance shall result in the petition under Section 23 being not maintainable. The Bench referred to the judgments of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in upholding its conclusion as well as referring to the amended Rule 22(3)(1)(i) of Delhi Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Rules 2017, which stipulates that a senior citizen or a parent can make an application to the concerned Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate for eviction of his son, daughter or legal heir from his property of any kind whether moveable or immoveable, ancestral or self-acquired, tangible or intangible and includes rights or interests in such properties on account of his non-maintenance and ill-treatment. The Bench, whilst concluding its legal analysis on the questions put forth before it, dismissed the appeal by stating that:
“If a section is capable of two constructions, that construction should be preferred which fulfills the policy of the Act and is more beneficial to the persons in whose interest, the Act has been passed.
Objectives of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007
- The chief objective behind this law was to make the provision of maintenance and welfare to old parents and senior citizens more effective.
- This Act makes it legally obliging for adult children and heirs to provide for parents by way of a monthly allowance.
- This Act provides an inexpensive and speedy procedure to claim monthly maintenance for parents and senior citizens
- According to this Act, parents could mean biological, adoptive, or step-parents.
- Under this Act, there are also provisions to protect the life and property of such persons (elderly).
- Since enacting this Act, senior citizens who have transferred their movable or immovable property, on the condition that the transferee shall provide them basic amenities and take care of their physical needs refuse to do so, such a transfer of property shall be considered to have been made by fraud or by coercion or under undue influence. Such a transfer can be made void.
- Abandoning a senior citizen in any place is a criminal offense.
- The Act also provides for the state governments to establish at least one old age home in every district of the state, and also ensure adequate medical care for senior citizens.
Important provisions are stated in the Act of 2007 to accomplish the above-mentioned objectives for eg. If the parents are suffering at the hands of their children they can approach the Hon’ble tribunal in their local jurisdiction under Section 5 of the Act of 2007 and submit an application in this regard to the concerned SDM in their local jurisdiction.
The Hon’ble Tribunal can direct the children to pay an amount of maintenance maximum up to Rs 10,000/- if they are satisfied by the application submitted by the Senior Citizen.
Senior citizens/parents are unaware of their legal rights to reclaim property transferred to children and to seek removal or eviction of their children or relatives from their property. Although 15 years have elapsed since the enactment of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act in 2007 (Senior Citizens Act) which grants such rights, the awareness of such rights remains low.
Some of the changes are necessarily needed in society which include increasing the awareness among elderly people regarding their rights and what relief they can get under different laws. Although the Senior Citizens Act itself does not provide for eviction/removal from the property, Indian courts, including the Supreme Court, have permitted eviction/removal of children or relatives from the property of senior citizens in case of harassment or non-maintenance. Courts have also ordered the removal of children from the parent’s home when children have resorted to harassing their parents to transfer the property to them on the ground that they are future legal heirs. Eviction/removal of the child from the property has also been upheld if a child has entered into an agreement for the transfer of property on fraudulent grounds to harass an aged parent.
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