Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A. Muhamed Mustaque, J. dismissed a petition challenging the order of Appellate Authority under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. 

The case of the petitioner is that her father executed a gift deed in her favour in 2014, thereafter filed an application in the Maintenance Tribunal under Section 23 of the MWPSC Act to revoke the said gift deed on the ground that his daughter is not providing him with necessary facilities to protect his well being. The Tribunal declined the father’s prayer but ordered the daughter (petitioner herein) to provide necessary facilities to her father to protect his well being. The father approached the appellate authority against the said order. The Appellate Authority allowed his appeal and granted revocation of the gift deed. Aggrieved thereby, the instant petition was filed in this Court.

Sri G. Harikumar, appearing on behalf of the petitioner argued that Section 23 can be attracted only in case of admission of a valid transfer. However, the respondent in the application stated that the deed was fraudulently obtained by undue influence and coercion. Thus, it is a case of civil dispute and shall be resolved by a civil court and not by Maintenance Tribunal.

Sri B.N.Shivsankar, appearing on behalf of the respondents relied on the object of the MWPSC Act. In addition to this, it was argued that the transfer of property of a senior citizen by way of gift is subject to providing basic amenities and if these are not provided the deed can be revoked under Section 23 of the MWPSC Act. 

The Court looked into the scope and object of the Act and accepted the respondent’s contention. The parliament enacted MWPSC Act to uphold the dignity and respect of a senior citizen at the time of old age. It relied on deontological moral theory of legislation and said that there are a certain type of actions which have universal acceptance. The Court also said that the tribunal has a duty to elicit the truth by adopting an inquisitorial approach as the act is not intended at dispute resolution but to promote measures to secure the welfare and interest of the senior citizens and parents. 

Relying on Radhamani v. State of Kerala, 2015 SCC OnLine Ker 33530, the Court held that there is no requirement of a written stipulation to effect that the transferee maintains the transferor. The tribunal should look at the circumstances under which the deed was executed.

Based on the following grounds the Court set aside the order of the Appellate Authority and remitted back the matter for reconsideration by the Tribunal. It also ordered that since the respondent is residing abroad, the Tribunal can hold sessions over electronic media.[G.S. Manju v. K.N. Gopi, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 5363, decided on 10-10-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: Sanjay K. Agarwal, J. imposed costs of Rs 2000 while dismissing a petition filed by a step-son for setting aside the order of the Tribunal directing him to pay Rs 10,000 per month as maintenance to her step-mother (respondent).

Manoj Kumar Sinha, Advocate for the step-son contended that the amount of Rs 10,000 was shockingly high and the petitioner was incapable of making the payment. Per contra, Aarti Chandra Dutt, Advocate for the step-mother submitted that the Tribunal had rightly allowed her application filed under Section 4 read with Section 5 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

Referring to the various relevant provisions of the Act, the High court observed: “The Act of 2007 has been enacted 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.” It was also noted that “parent” as defined in Section 2(d) includes step-parents. It was found that the Tribunal passed the order granting maintenance on the basis of material available on record, holding that the step-son was a government teacher with sufficient income to maintain his step-mother.

Commenting that the present was unfortunate litigation and in view of the “well-renowned mandate of our scriptures”, the court dismissed the appeal with costs of Rs 2000 to be payable by the step-mother. [Uttar Kumar Bhoi v. Surekha Bhoi, 2019 SCC OnLine Chh 23, dated 12-3-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of R.D. Dhanuka, J., addressed a petition filed under Article 227 of the Constitution of India in regard to an order passed by the Tribunal for Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens under the provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

The facts of the case stated that Respondent 1 had prayed for maintenance and eviction of her son, the petitioner and his family on various grounds for which the tribunal had passed an order in favour of Respondent 1. The said order of the tribunal was challenged by the petitioner son.

The contentions of the petitioner were that the order of the tribunal was impugned as the complaint was against the petitioner and not his son, wife, and daughter but the tribunal’s order was against all. He also submitted that the entire order is without jurisdiction as the tribunal has no jurisdiction under Section 4 of the said Act.

While giving severity to the facts such as harassment, cruelty and torture being caused to Respondent 1 by the petitioner and his family, the Court firstly considered the issue of jurisdiction, for which it placed reliance on Sunny Paul v. State (NCT of Delhi),2017 SCC OnLine Del 7451 stating that the tribunal has ample of powers to pass an order of eviction under the provisions of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. Therefore, by highlighting the essence of Section 4 of the above-mentioned Act and on weighing the gravity of the issue in the present case, High Court dismissed the petition on finding no merits and upheld the Tribunal’s order. [Dattatrey Shivaji Mane v. Lilabai Shivaji Mane,2018 SCC OnLine Bom 2246, dated 26-06-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court comprising of Siddharth Mridul and Deepa Sharma, JJ., dismissed a Letters Patents Appeal before it. The matter before the Court was related to the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 (Hereinafter ‘act’) and the issue before the Court for adjudication was whether the Maintenance Tribunal has the jurisdiction to pass an order of eviction?

It was urged before the Court that a Maintenance Tribunal inherently lacks jurisdiction to pass an order of eviction and that the same is beyond the scope of proceedings for maintenance, instituted on behalf of a senior citizen. The facts leading up to the case were, that Respondent 3, a 68 year old man and father of the appellants, ran a printing press in a building occupied by him along with his ailing wife and his sons with their respective families in separate accommodations. Respondent 3 instituted a petition under the Act that despite having spent considerable amount on renovating the subject property, and providing separate residential accommodation to his sons, the latter backed out from their responsibility to pay a monthly sum of Rs. 20,000 collectively for his maintenance and for the requirements of his ailing wife. The Maintenance Tribunal had originally passed an order in Respondent 3’s favour, according to which, Appellant 2 and 3 were to vacate their respective residential portions and were also to refrain from indulging in arguing, making comments or other similar behaviour with the rest of the parties, including a son of Respondent 3 not implicated in the complaint. Instead of complying, the appellants instituted the present writ petition before the Court.

The Court referred to Section 32 of the Act r/w clause (i) of Section 2 along with the Rules promulgated under to adjudge that a senior citizen is entitled to institute an application seeking eviction of his son, daughter or other legal heir from his self-acquired property on grounds of ill-treatment and non-maintenance. Applications disposed of. [Shadab Khairi v. State,  2018 SCC OnLine Del 7626, decided on 22.02.2018]