Rajasthan High Court: Sameer Jain J. dismissed the petition and refused to interfere with the impugned order.
The facts of the case are such that the respondent is mother of petitioner 1 and mother-in-law of petitioner 2, whose husband passed away bequeathing all movable and immovable properties in favour of the respondent by way of will prior to his death. The respondent has 3 sons and 1 daughter. She bought a house which is disputed in the instant case wherein she was living with the son second in number as the elder son had died and younger son is not well to do. Petitioner 1 filed suit before the Civil Court for declaration of the disputed property (85% under his name) as he invested around 8 lakhs out of his own funds. The Civil Court rejected the plaint upon Order 7 Rule 11 application by order dated 06-08-2021 against which an appeal was preferred which is sub judice before this Court. The present writ petition was filed under Article 226 & 227 Constitution of India against the order dated 08-03-2019 passed by the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Tribunal (S.D.O.) Jaipur City, Jaipur whereby, petitioners were directed to vacate the premises and the rights of respondent mother were restored.
Counsel for respondent mother submitted that it is only because of pension of her husband that she is able to financially support herself otherwise, she is ousted out of her house by the petitioners and is being harassed by them on day to day basis and she is under pathetic condition suffering mental and social torture as she has to live in her married daughter’s house, which is against the customs of Hindu joint family.
Counsel for petitioner submitted that the allegations of ill-treatment qua abusive language, neglect, mental and physical torture against him and his wife are only cooked story. The fact of not providing food, not taking appropriate care of relatives or visitors of the respondent and not providing medical facilities to the respondent are also part of the sham story. The petitioners further submit that it is on her own sweet will that the respondent went to Bhiwani, her native town, to her sister-in-law in the year 2010 and thereafter since March, 2018 until today she is residing at her daughter’s house and the petitioners had no role to play in forcing her out of the disputed property for the said period.
The Court observed that Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 was enacted by the Legislature in the background that the traditional norms and values of the Indian Society are lost due to withering of the joint family system as a large number of elderly are not being looked after by their family, particularly the widowed women, who are forced to spend their twilight years all alone and are exposed to emotional neglect, lack of financial support and are rather treated as a waste.
The Court relied on judgment S. Vanitha v. Deputy Commissioner, 2020 SCC Online SC 1023 and observed that when there are family laws and personal laws and there is domestic conflict between in-laws and daughter-in-law, both are protected by respective legislation. However, in the event of conflict between them, the dominant purpose of both the statutes has to be seen in a harmonious way as it is important to strike a balance between family law and personal law and read them in a way so as to glue the family and society.
The Court after perusing the facts and grounds of impugned order has come to a conclusion that ill-treatment is meted out to the respondent-mother, she is expelled from her own house, allegations of mental, physical and social abuse have been leveled against the petitioners and during the proceedings before this court respondent-mother categorically submitted that living with the petitioners would pose a threat to her life and mental wellbeing, the prayer of the petition to set aside the eviction order of tribunal passed on 08-03-2019 does not have a leg to stand on.
The Court held “the petitioners along with their family are directed to honor the impugned order dated 08.03.2019 and vacate the premises within a period of 30 days from the date of pronouncement of the judgment on their own cost and restore the house in vacant manner and in appropriate condition to the respondent-mother with due respect.” [Suresh Sharma v. Dhanwanti Sharma, 2022 SCC OnLine Raj 672, decided on 07-04-2022]
For Petitioner(s): Mr. Deepak Sharma
For Respondent(s): Mr. Ashok Mehta and Mr. Mudit Singhvi