Bombay High Court: Noting in case after case, complaints from senior citizens that their own sons and daughters are harassing them, Division Bench of G.S. Patel and Madhav J Jamdar, JJ., expressed that,
“…the harassment is an attempt to somehow grab the senior citizen’s property in his or her lifetime without thought spared to the mental or physical health well-being or happiness of these seniors.”
Instant petition challenged an order passed by the Welfare Tribunal and Deputy Collector Mumbai City on a complaint made to that tribunal by 2nd respondent (Mr Shetty). 2nd respondent was the father of four daughters.
Mr Shetty stated that he does not want his daughter petitioner Shweta to remain, occupy or reside in Flat No. 2A, Giriraj CHSL, 11 Altamont Road, Mumbai.
There was no doubt that Mr Shetty was the sole and absolute owner of the above-stated flat and Shweta has no right of any kind in the said flat. She has not even canvassed any independent right to the flat at all.
Mr Shetty, aged 94 years old was a widower with several age-related health ailments and he was being continuously harassed and mistreated by Shweta.
He submitted that, Shweta contributed nothing to the house and was rude, aggressive and with time her conduct deteriorated. She began to badger Mr Shetty “for her share of the property” and said that she would leave the flat only after she was given “her share”. Shweta even caused physical distress to the domestic help and damaged the household as well.
In view of the above, Mr Shetty sought Shweta’s eviction from a Tribunal.
Analysis, Law and Decision
To constitute eviction, or to invoke any prohibition against eviction, it must be shown that some legally enforceable civil right of the appellant in the property itself has been determined and that the appellant has been denied that right. Removal of a person with no right in the premises is not eviction so as to attract any such prohibition.
Agreeing with the various decisions of the Courts, Bench expressed that,
“…it is our experience that in this city, and particularly or most especially amongst the wealthy of this city, senior citizens and elderly parents are being subjected to all kinds of harassment and deprivation in their twilight years.”
In the instant matter, the daughter has been demanding her share from her father’s property but what is her ‘share’ while he is alive? Well, none. As long as Mr Shetty is alive, Shweta has no ‘share’ in his property.
Bench added to the above that,
“…this is not an isolated experience at all. It is, in fact, a widely noticed trend and it is to address this evil – we will not even call it mischief – that the 2007 Act was brought into force.”
When the Court spoke to Mr Shetty he was completely unambiguous and indeed emphatic in his statement to the Court that he did not want Shweta in his house for one minute longer. He repeatedly asked that she be made to leave his flat and that he be left in peace.
With respect to the argument of Mr Thorat that the Act does not contemplate the removal of any person from immovable property, Court found the said proposition to be incorrect.
Court agreed with the views of this Court in Dattatrey Shivaji Mane v. Lilabai Shivaji Mane, 2018 SCC OnLine Bom 2246 along with the decision of Delhi High Court in Sunny Paul v. State of NCT of Delhi, 2018 SCC OnLine Del 11640.
Bench lastly, added that if the Delhi rules provide for eviction of a person with no right in the property to protect the interests and welfare of a senior citizen, this necessarily means that the right to order removal of a claimant exists in the statute itself.
In view of the above petition was rejected. [Shweta Shetty v. State of Maharashtra, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 4575, decided on 25-11-2021]
Advocates before the Court:
For the Petitioner: Mr Pradeep Thorat, i/b Manoj Agiwal.
For the Respondent 2: Dr Sujay Kantawala, with Aditya Iyer.
For Respondents 3,4 and 5: Ms Aishwarya Kantawala.
For the State: Mr Kedar Dighe, AGP.