Delhi High Court: The Letters Patent Appeal was filed to challenge the order passed by the Single Judge of the Delhi High Court wherein the order passed by the Appellate Authority under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 (‘Senior Citizen Act’) and its amended rules was upheld and had in turn rejected the appeal preferred against the order passed by the District Magistrate who took cognizance of the complaint and allowed the application filed by respondent 1 ordering for eviction of the appellant from the disputed property located in Najafgarh, New Delhi. The division bench of Satish Chandra Sharma, CJ., and Subramonium Prasad*, J., upheld the orders of eviction of the appellant passed by the District Magistrate and the order passed by the Single Judge Bench of Delhi High Court and stated that they could not be faulted keeping in mind the aims and objectives of the Senior Citizens Act and its accompanying rules as amended from time to time.
In the matter at hand, the disputed property was the matrimonial home of the appellant, wherein the parents-in-law were in occupation of the second floor and the appellant, and her deceased husband used to reside in one of the rooms on the ground floor. The appellants husband had died of multiple organ failure on 17-12-2013.
It was contended that the relations between the parties had deteriorated and turned acrimonious after the appellant’s husband’s death. In the year 2019, respondent 1 had filed an application before the District Magistrate under the Senior Citizen Act for getting the appellant evicted from the property on the grounds of ill treatment and non-maintenance.
The District Magistrate by way of summary proceedings directed the eviction of the appellant vide order dated 22-10-2020 on the grounds of non-maintenance and ill treatment of the respondents which had forced them to leave their self-acquired property.
It was contended that the appellant being the legal heir of deceased husband was entitled to her share in the property. However, the Principal Secretary-cum-Divisional Commissioner of the Appellate Authority as per the Delhi Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Amendment Rules, 2016 (‘Delhi Maintenance Rules’) stated that the rights of the appellant vis-a-vis the disputed property was left open to be decided in civil suit proceedings.
Thereafter the appellant sought quashing of the eviction order passed by the District Magistrate and the Divisional Commissioner upholding the eviction order as it was the case of the appellant that the disputed property was not a self-acquired property as claimed by the respondents. The Single Judge Bench of the High Court held that the appellant had failed to submit evidence to prove that appellant had dutifully taken care of her senior citizen parents in law and affirmed the eviction order as well as the confirming order of eviction passed by the appellate authority.
The Court opined that while interpreting the provisions of a statute, the Courts must bear the objectives and purposes for which the statute was enacted. Senior Citizens Act, 2007 and the Rules enacted thereunder were enacted for the protection of interests of senior citizens and the present case squarely fell within the contours of a situation envisaged under the aforementioned Acts and Rules.
The Court noted the aims and objectives of the Senior Citizens Act, 2007 which was to “provide for more effective provisions for the maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens guaranteed and recognized under the Constitution and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”.
The Bench perused the materials on record and stated that the eviction order which was sought to be quashed in the writ proceedings was passed after considering inter-alia, enquiry reports submitted in the summary proceedings, from which it can be inferred that on account of the appellant’s ill treatment and non-cooperation, the only recourse left for respondent 1 was to seek for the appellant’s eviction from the subject property.
With the above observation, the Court upheld the orders passed by the District Magistrate, Appellate Authority and the order passed by the Single Judge Bench and stated that they could not be faulted keeping in mind the aims and objectives of the Senior Citizens Act and its accompanying rules as amended from time to time. The Court noted that the respondent was bereft of any support who only sought the peaceful possession of his self-acquired property and should not be subjected to trials and tribulations thrown at him by the appellant. Thus, in the light of the foregoing and applying the law, the Court did not find any reason to interfere with the order of the Single Judge of the Delhi High Court.
[Saraswati Devi v Ganga Ram Sharma, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 2093, decided on 10-04-2023]
Judgment authored by Justice Subramonium Prasad
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For the appellant- Advocates Kamal Mohan Gupta, Advocates Amber Shehbaz Ansari, Advocates Gorakh Nath Yadav and Advocates Moh. Aslam Khan;
For the respondent- Advocates Manish Sangwan.