Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In an appeal directed against the judgment and order upholding conviction of the appellant for the offence under Section 20(b)(ii)(C) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act), the bench of Ajay Rastogi * and C.T. Ravi Kumar, JJ has reduced the sentence after observing that the appellant was an illiterate senior citizen on the date of the incident, was having no criminal record, and was from a rural background, completely unknown to the law and unaware of what was happening around her.

The trial Court had sentenced the appellant to 15 years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1 Lakh and in default, to further undergo rigorous imprisonment of 3 years. The Supreme Court has reduced the sentence to 12 years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1 lakh and in default, to further undergo rigorous imprisonment of six months.

In this case the appellant along with her two children was charged under Section 20(b)(ii)(C) of the NDPS Act for having joint possession of the commercial quantity of illegal ‘Ganja'(Cannabis)of 05 quintal and 21.5 kilogram, which was, as alleged, in their joint knowledge. The trial Court acquitted the other four persons of all the charges and held the appellant guilty under the NDPS Act, as she was in possession of the house from where the psychotropic substance was recovered.

The Court noted that the order of acquittal against the four co-accused persons was never a matter of challenge at the instance of the prosecution. Further, the appellant preferred an appeal before the High Court against the impugned judgment but the High Court, examining the conviction on merits, took note of the bare facts regarding the compliance of Sections 42, 50 and 55 of the NDPS Act, and since the psychotropic substance was recovered from the residence of the appellant, considered it to be the basis for upholding conviction and sentence of the appellant.

Moreover, the Court viewed that

“neither the trial Court nor the High Court has considered that the lady was illiterate and a senior citizen, was indeed residing but completely unknown to law, with two grown up children, with no previous background of being involved in any kind of criminal cases at any point of time in her lifetime”.

The Court observed that all five accused persons faced trial, but unfortunately the appellant alone was held guilty, and the trial Judge, without examining in totality of the matter and taking the other salient facts into consideration, sentenced her to 15 years’ rigorous imprisonment. It further observed that the minimum sentence prescribed under the NDPS Act for such offence under Section 20(b)(ii)(C) is 10 years which may extend to 20 years with a fine of Rs. 1 lakh which may extend to Rs. 2 lakhs, and while imposing higher than the minimum punishment, the factors which are to be taken into consideration have been provided under S. 32-B of the NDPS Act, however, the trial Judge as well as the High Court have not taken those factors into consideration. Thus, in the given facts and circumstances, the Court, while upholding the conviction of the appellant, and considering her old age, reduced her punishment.

[Budhiyarin Bai v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 992, decided on 10.08.2022]

*Judgment by: Justice Ajay Rastogi

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a case where an old age home inmate was accused of misbehaving with other inmates and was hence, asked to vacate the room, the bench of Hemant Gupta* and V. Ramasubramanian, JJ has held that if one parent is the cause of disruption of peace of other inmates in the old age home, the administration of the old age home is at liberty to terminate the license and ask the inmate to vacate the room allotted to them.

In the case at hand, after receiving several complaints against the respondents for allegedly misbehaving with the other inmates, the Committee of the Old Age Home at first took a compassionate approach and allowed one month’s time to the respondents so as to observe their behaviour. If no reforms were visible then, they would be told to leave the premises in terms of Rule framed by the old age home. Since no behavioral change was visible, the Old Age Home cancelled the membership of the respondents on 22.11.2019.

While the Allahabad High Court granted injunction against such order, the Supreme Court was of the opinion that since the respondents had no legal right to protect their possession without complying with the corresponding obligations, as their possession is not a legal possession but only a permissive possession, they cannot seek any injunction to restrain the management of the old age home not to dispossess them.

The Court observed,

“It is an unfortunate situation when the parents cannot be taken care of by the children, but the fact remains that abandonment of parents by their children is now a hard fact of life. Parents do find it difficult to reconcile the situation that at that age they have to stay in old age home. Therefore, one can understand the mental trauma which the parents face in the evening of their life but the agony suffered by a parent cannot be a cause of disturbance to the other inmates or to the organizers who have resolved to take care and run the old age home.”

It was held that the inmates in the old age home are licensees and are expected to maintain a minimum level of discipline and good behaviour and not to cause disturbance to the fellow inmates who are also senior citizens. Therefore, if one parent is the cause of disruption of peace of other inmates in the old age home, the administration of the old age home is at liberty to terminate the license and ask the inmate to vacate the room allotted to them. Even if the organizers of the old age home are not able to meet the expectation or requirements of the plaintiffs, that would not confer a cause to the plaintiffs to disturb the other inmates. As a licensee, the respondents have no right to stay in the accommodation allotted which is purely an approach to a human problem faced by the people in old age. It is also important to note that the respondents have even been offered alternative accommodation as well.

The Court hence directed that the appellant shall arrange an alternative old age home for the respondents, as one offered by the Social Welfare Department.

Further, it will be open to the Municipal Corporation or the Social Welfare Department to examine the living conditions of the inmates in the old age home so that the inmates live in as comfortable conditions as are possible at that age.

The Court also directed the Uttar Pradesh State Legal Services Authority to depute a para-legal volunteer to visit the old age home on such intervals as is possible and the Member Secretary of the District Legal Services Authority to visit the old age home at least once a month initially to find out the difficulties being faced by the inmates and to take redressal steps, including to provide legal aid if required by the inmates of the old age home.

[Samarpan Varishtha Jan Parisar v. Rajendra Prasad Agarwal, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 564, decided on 06.05.2022]


*Judgment by: Justice Heman Gupta

Case BriefsHigh Courts

In 2013, Gujarat High Court addressed a case wherein a son audaciously suggested that his parents should move to and stay in an old-age home instead of claiming an order of “care, protection and maintenance”.

The petitioner who was the father along with his wife used to live in the village and were not keeping well, health-wise, hence they claimed in the Court that their son shall be directed to provide proper maintenance, care and protection.

Father alleged that his younger son does not help him and his wife in any manner and he also does not provide for their maintenance.

From the opposing application, it emerged that the expenditure towards medicines of the applicant and his wife were being reimbursed, however, the applicant had emphatically denied and asserted that the said expenses are not being reimbursed and he has to meet with all expenses including the expenditure towards medicines for himself and his wife out of his pension-amount and he does not have any other income/source of income except pension.

It was not in dispute that the respondent does not stay with his parents and from the material on record it does not come out that he is extending any care or help to his parents and/or he does not provide for, or does not even contribute anything for, their maintenance.

High Court noted that the father does not receive any monetary help from his children and he does not have any other income to maintain himself and his wife to meet with their regular domestic expenses as well as the expenditure towards their medicines.

Additionally, the Court expressed that the applicant and his wife do not get any physical or emotional care, protection and support or any monetary help from their two children and their families.

Section 4 of the Act prescribes that the obligation of the children or the relative to maintain parent or senior citizen extends to the “needs” or parent’s or senior citizens so that he/they may lad a “normal life” and the conferment of the right to claim maintenance under the Act is not restricted qua only biological or adopted children but it is also extended, in specified cases, qua relative/s as well.

The above-said obligation was not restricted only to provide bare minimum maintenance, but the Act imposes obligation to also provide “all needs” of such citizen so that he may lead a “normal life” and to also provide food, clothing, residence, medical attendance and treatment.

The above-said expression ‘lead normal life’ would include all requirements of parents, i.e., physical needs as well as emotional needs.

It is pertinent that the pecuniary limit as regards the amount which can be awarded as maintenance allowance does not regulate the provision under section 4 of the Act and the provision under section 4 of the Act is not dependent on section 9 or pecuniary limit prescribed by the Rule 5 of the said Rules. It is neither the scope nor effect nor object of section 9 to regulate and/or restrict the scope or operation of Section 4 of the Act.

Parents’ right to Maintenance

High Court expressed that,

The right of the parent or senior citizen to make an application for maintenance, if such parent or senior citizen is not able to maintain himself from his own earning cannot be denied/taken away or curtailed by applying and superimposing the pecuniary limit prescribed for the purpose of Section 9 of the Act.

Further, with regard to awarding more amount, Court held that the applicant has to satisfy the competent authority that having regard to his requirements to lead a normal life as contemplated under Section 4 of the Act, his income is insufficient and he needs more amount/assistance from his children so that he can maintain himself and lead a normal life.

“…merely because, income of the applicant appears to be more than the pecuniary limit prescribed for the purpose of section 9 of the Act, the authority cannot refuse to entertain and decide an application and pass appropriate order.”

The petition was accepted and allowed.[Parmar Dahyabhai Hemabhai v. Parmar Prakashbhai Dahyabhai, 2013 SCC OnLine Guj 749, decided on 4-3-2013]


Advocates before the Court:

MR YH MOTIRAMANI, ADVOCATE for the Petitioner(s) No. 1
MS E.SHAILAJA, ADVOCATE for the Respondent(s) No. 1

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: G.S. Kulkarni, J., addressed an ordeal of a senior citizen who would be soon in her nineties and was subjected to harassment by her son and grandson due to which she desired to end her life.

Court remarked that,

Looking at this case, one would surely perceive the perishing and deterioration of the family and societal values inherent in our culture, beliefs, ideals and traditions that parents and elders are to be treated with highest respect, love and empathy.

It is so disheartening that at such old age when the only expectation of a senior citizen, from the near and dear ones is of care, concern, affection and love, instead, what has been returned is harassment, wretchedness, suffering and abuse.

Background

Respondent 1 (Grandmother) who was 89 years old defended herself against her adamant grandson and her own son in proceedings initiated under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act, 2007.

Grandmother had initially approached the Senior Citizen’s Tribunal initially claiming the maintenance.

She submitted that she was scared of her son as he was using all pressure tactics to make sure that she gives away all the assets to him, which were standing in her name and in the name of her late spouse. Further, she pleaded that her son and grandson along with their spouses entered her house, after which continued violence and pressure were created in order to grab the assets which were in her name and in her late husband’s name and not to give any share to her two daughters who also had equal shares in the estate of the grandmother and that of her deceased husband.

The grandmother stated that when she refused to succumb to such pressures and persistence of Jayesh to transfer all the assets in his name, he started behaving violently, which caused her to leave her own flat and stay with one of her daughters. Even after she left her house, the behaviour of her son continued to remain violent, and he started causing distress not only to her life but also to her married daughters.

In view of the above, respondent 1 decided that she would go back to her own house so that her son would not disturb the family members of any of her daughters.

Further, in another petitioner, respondent 1’s grandson took an extremely hard adversarial position asserting his rights more than what her son could assert.

Tribunal had given its decision in favour of the grandmother while giving her the possession of the said house and evicting the son and grandson from the said property.

On being aggrieved by the Tribunals’ decision, both the son and grandson have approached this Court.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court noted the stand of the son who stated that he has no objection in vacating the flat, to which the Court expressed that it is a fair stand, and it reflects a relisation on the part of the son that he would not have any legal right when the flat belonged to his mother. Though the grandson still asserted the claim on the basis of a purported Will of his grandfather to claim that the said flat was bequeathed to him.

What did the grandson say with respect to the property?

He admitted the fact that the flat belonged to his grandmother, however, the said flat was bought by his grandfather in his grandmother’s name since she had no source of income, hence his grandfather was the real owner who had bequeathed the flat to him by the purported Will and hence he had become the owner of the flat. However, he made a charitable statement that he would not mind if the grandmother decided to stay with him.

Whether Abhimanyu (Grandson) on the purported Will of his grandfather can refuse to vacate the flat in question?

In Court’s opinion answer would be negative.

Reasons:

  • Respondent 1-grandmother was admittedly the owner of the flat in question, the share certificate in relation to the said flat stood in her name.
  • This flat was continuously reflected in her income-tax returns as her asset. She is also paying the maintenance towards the said flat.
  • She categorically stated not only in her affidavit before the tribunal but also in the affidavit filed before this Court, that she is the sole owner of the said flat.
  • She also submitted that her grandson along with other family members, since the demise of her husband was taking all possible steps to usurp all her properties which were worth about 20 Crores.
  • By public notice, her husband had disowned her son.
  • She has set out repeated events of physical harassment and mental torture which went to such an extent that she attempted to commit suicide.

It was thus clear, that if Abhimanyu intended to assert any right on the flat in question on the basis of any Will of his grandfather, and more particularly, when such will was admittedly not probated, when the parties were within the jurisdiction of this Court, Abhimanyu could not have asserted any right to retain possession or occupation of the grandmother’s flat which independently belonged to her as an owner, which even Abhimanyu does not deny, except for the Will, which in any case are future rights to be established in appropriate adjudication.

Classic case where son Jayesh and grandson Abhimanyu have left no stone unturned to make life of the grandmother a living hell.

Greed of Property

The Bench further expressed that,

Courts have witnessed senior citizens knocking the doors of the Courts throughout the country, praying for reliefs under the Act. It is seen that when such senior citizens have property and when they become physically, psychologically and mentally weak and dependent and or they are in ill health, in such helpless position, the torture, harassment and depravement to them, from self-centered relatives and family members commences so as to grab their property.

While concluding the decision, Bench parted stating that,

“…with a hope that wiser sense would prevail on the petitioners and they would show empathy and mercy towards the grandmother so that she is not required to physically visit any Court as she did for the present proceedings and toil any further.”

Directing the petitioners to vacate the grandmother’s flat within 10 days, Court dismissed the petition. [Abhimanyu Jayesh Jhaveri v. Nirmala Dharmadas Jhaveri, 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 5861, decided on 17-12-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

Mr Kishor S. Patil, Advocate for the Petitioner in WP/4650/2021.

Mr Amit Sale, Advocate for the Petitioner in WP/6916/2021.

Mr Hiral Thakkar i/b. Ms. Vimal Sanghavi, Advocate for the Respondent.


Also Read:

Harassment to grab senior citizen’s property | 94-year old father approaches Court stating he doesn’t want his daughter even for one-minute longer: Read Bom HC’s decision

Punjab and Haryana High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Considering the misuse of SC and ST Act by so-called social activists, Arvind Singh Sangwan J. directed the Director General of Police to issue instructions to all the Senior Superintendents of Police that no FIR under SC&ST Act be registered at the instance of third party, unless an opinion is sought from the District Attorney (Legal) that the complainant falls within the definition of victim as per SC&ST Act.

The sexagenarian petitioners had approached the Court for grant of anticipatory bail in an FIR registered under Sections 3(1)(x) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The petitioner couple, about 67 years and 58 years of age were alleged to have used some derogatory remarks against their daughter-in-law, Ramanpreet Kaur who belonged to SC/ST cast while having a private conversation with their son. Noticeably, prior to performance of the marriage, the petitioners had disowned their own son by issuing a notice in the newspaper on 14-09-2016 as he used to maltreat them.

The petitioners submitted that after performing marriage, the atrocities of their son had increased as he wanted them to be ousted from their own the house. The pressure on the petitioners to transfer the property in the name of their son went to the extent that the petitioners had to approach Commissioner of Police for seeking protection to their life and liberty. In the above backdrop, the petitioners contended that as a ploy to oust the petitioners from the house, their son had uploaded the audio recording of their private conversation on his social media profile and the complainants namely Navdeep, Sunil Bagha and Gurdeep Singh, claiming themselves to be a social activist in Jalandhar had got the aforesaid FIR registered.

The petitioners argued that none of the informant would fall under the definition of ‘Victim’ as per Section 2(1)(ec) of the SC&ST Act, which refer to a victim as “individual” who has suffered or experienced physical, mental, psychological, emotional or monetary harm to his property, which includes his relatives, legal guardian and legal heirs.

Noticing that Ramanpreet Kaur had not come forward to lodge any complaint with the police and the three complainants were not related to her in any manner, the Bench opined that the petitioners were senior citizens with no criminal antecedents and, admittedly, there was a property dispute between the petitioners, on one side and their son on the other side, on account of the fact that their son had married to a dalit woman has performed marriage with Ramanpreet Kaur, the FIR so registered by strangers to the suit was a clear misuse of process of law.

Therefore, with the view that no complaint was lodged by the victim (daughter-in-law), and none of the complainant had any locus standi, the Bench allowed the application for anticipatory bail. [Bhagwant Singh Randhawa v. State of Punjab, CRM-M No.42685 of 2021, decided on 12-10-2021]


Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has put this report together 


Appearance by:

For the Petitioners: Amit Dhawan, Advocate

For the State of Punjab: Joginder Pal Ratra, DAG, Punjab

For the Complainants: Navraj Singh, Advocate

Punjab and Haryana High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Expressing that when the children, who the parents have reared with untold sorrows and miseries, throw them at the mercy of their destiny and use their muscle power to torture and harass them, the parents’ world get totally shattered which marks as the beginning for the unfortunate tale of their moving from one Forum to another for redressal, Harnaresh Singh Gill, J., while quoting from the holy script of  Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Sri Guru Ram Dass has written ‘KAAHAY POOT JHAGRAT HA-O SANG BAAP/ JIN KAY JANAY BADEERAY TUM HA-O TIN SIO JHAGRAT PAPP//” (O son, why do you argue with your father? It is a sin to argue with the one who fathered you and raised you) stated that “we have to treat our parents as God.


Life is full with extraordinary challenges and unrivalled opportunities, but such chances must not be used against those who parented you.

Classic Example

Instant matter was a classic example, wherein the petitioners sought equities entirely forgetting that it is because of their conduct that their old and aged parents had to seek their eviction so as to buy back their peace and freedom.

Grievance

Issuance of writ of mandamus was sought for directing respondents 1 to 3 to protect the life and liberty of the petitioners at the hands of respondents 4 and 5 and mandate them not to interfere in the property of the petitioners.

Application filed by respondent 4 under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 wherein the petitioners have been ordered to be ejected from the house is also sought to be dismissed.

Factual Background

Respondent 4 had filed an application under the provisions of the 2007 Act against the petitioners i.e. his son and daughter-in-law. Petitioners were not treating respondent 4 and 5 properly and depriving them even of the basic necessities and just wanted to grab respondents’ property and owing to their behaviour, respondents 4 and 5 had disowned petitioner 1 from their movable and immovable property.

Respondents had even requested the petitioners to vacate the house in question, but they did not. Sub Divisional Magistrate in his report recommended the ejectment of the petitioners and sent the same to the District Magistrate who ordered the ejectment of the petitioners from the house.

Petitioners’ Contention

Counsel for the petitioner contended that the house in question was a joint Hindu Family Property and petitioner 1 had also contributed to the construction of ground floor of the house, he also started a business in which respondent 4 was shown the proprietor.

Another submission was that the respondents had ill-treated petitioner 2 and accordingly FIR under Sections 498-A, 406, 323, 506 and 34 of Penal Code, 1860 were registered against the respondents.

Adding to its submissions, the petitioners counsel also contended that the District Magistrate had no power under Section 23 of the 2007 Act to direct a son to vacate the house of his parents because none of the circumstances contemplated in the statutory provisions, is attracted in a father-son-relationship.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Respondent 4’s case was that the house in question was his self-acquired property, and rather it was not a Joint Hindu Family Property.

SDM in its report had stated that as per the sale deed, respondent 4 was the owner of the house in question.

High Court stated that even if for the sake of arguments, Court assumes that respondent 4 had gifted the house to the petitioners, even then the transfer of property was to be held void in certain circumstances.

Section 23 of the 2007 Act dealt with the validity of the transfer of property in certain circumstances.

“…if a senior citizen who, after the commencement of the 2007 Act, has transferred by way of gift or otherwise, his property, with the condition that the transferee would provide basic amenities and basic physical needs to the transferor, who thereafter refuses or fails to provide such amenities and physical needs, then the transfer of the property made by the senior citizen shall be deemed to have been made by fraud or coercion or under undue influence and shall at the option of the transferor, be declared void by the Tribunal.”

Rule 24 of the Rules provides in the action plan as to how the property of senior citizen, which includes a residential building, can be vacated from his son, daughter or legal heir(s) while in an unauthorized occupation and how the said order is to be enforced.

Court added that though the present matter is not the one wherein any transfer or gift has been executed by respondent 4 and 5. Hence, the petitioners cannot maintain the claim on the alleged ground that petitioner 1 had contributed towards the renovation of the house.

Adding more to the analysis, Bench expressed that even in the cases, where a gift deed was executed by the parents in favour of the children, it was held that irrespective of any condition regarding providing to the transferor the basic amenities, the transferee would be bound to maintain the transferor.

High Court referred to this Court’s decision in Raksha Devi v. Deputy Commr., decided on 3-5-2018.

In view of the above, Court dismissed the petition on not finding any merit. [Anil Kumar Dhiman v. State of Haryana, CRWP 1357 of 2019, decided on 21-9-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

Mr Akhil Bhasin, Advocate, for the petitioners.

Mr Pardeep Prakash Chahar, DAG, Haryana.

Mr Anuj Balian, Advocate, for respondents 4 and 5.


Additional Reading:


“Daughters are daughters forever and sons are sons till they are married”: Bom HC orders son to vacate flat of 90 yrs old parents

Under Parents and Senior Citizens Act, is it necessary to find out whether property belongs to parent exclusively or is a shared household in which daughter-in-law has rights? Bom HC deciphers

Children living in parents’ house are at best licensees: Cal HC says senior citizens’ exclusive residentiary rights to be viewed from prism of Art. 21

P&H HC | Maintaining elderly parents is not only a value based principle but a bounden duty under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents Act

Madras HC | Sons turning turtle after giving undertaking to vacate their father’s premises is Contempt of Court: Read synopsis of Court’s opinion

Del HC | Which is the proper forum for filing appeals from the eviction order passed by DM under Delhi Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act? Court answers

All HC | Is the District Magistrate under obligation to provide protection to senior citizens being harassed by their children? HC explains

Bom HC | “If children cannot take care of their parents and allow them to live in peace, they atleast ought not to make their life a living hell”; Court sternly warns daughter to not harass mother physically & mentally

Chh HC | Step-son held duty bound to maintain his step-mother under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act

Maintenance – Children and Parents

Parents can evict children under the provisions of MWPSC Act, 2007 upon being harassed: Bombay HC

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Madras High Court: The Division Bench of P.N. Prakash and R. Pongiappan, JJ., addressed a contempt petition filed under Section 10 of the Contempt of Courts Act.

Petitioner aged 87 years old was blessed with 5 children. He was in service when his children were young and was allotted a plot by the Tamil Nadu Housing Board, wherein he built a two-storeyed house. After his retirement, he started living peacefully with his wife and 4th son viz. Laxmi Rajah on the first floor. Apart from this he also owned a few more properties in and around Chennai.

After the death of his wife, petitioners’ children started demanding their shares in the properties and two of his sons Vijay and Suraj took possession of the ground floor and after a year started giving him trouble.

Due to the fear of being dispossessed from the house, a settlement deed in favour of the 4th son was executed.

On being infuriated with the above stated, the 4th son’s wife assaulted the petitioner and the other three daughter-in-law lodged a police complaint against the petitioner based on which an enquiry was conducted and the case as closeld as the same was a ‘civil dispute’.

The disgruntled sons gave a complaint of cheating and fraudulent transaction against their father. Again, the same was closed as “family quarrel”.

Vijay and Suraj filed a suit before the VII Additional City Civil Court for partition alleging that their father the petitioner did not have any means to purchase the Anna Nagar house property and it was bought with the funds of their grandfather and hence, they have a share in it.

The above mentioned two sons also assaulted their father, after which the petitioner sought protection under the Tamil Nadu Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

Police filed an FIR against the two sons for the offences under Sections 294(b), 352 and 506(I) Penal Code, 1860 and Section 24 of the Tamil Nadu Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

Two sons pleaded to Murthi at Metropolitan Magistrate’s house to withdraw the complaint and they will vacate the premises and show the bonafide they filed a written memo of undertaking before the Metropolitan Magistrate.

Reason for filing the present petition

After earning freedom, the two sons turned turtle, reneged from their undertaking and refused to vacate the premises and therefore, Murthi/ Petitioner was before this Court with the instant contempt petition.

Analysis, Law and Decision

Whether the undertaking given by Vijay and Suraj before the Metropolitan Magistrate was under coercion when they were in police custody or they gave it voluntarily?

Bench noted that when Vijay and Suraj’s counsel submitted before the Court that if some more time would be granted, they would vacate the house, the duo refused to toe their counsel’s line as well. Mainly they stuck on to the issue that their father did not give any share to them in his property.

Order passed by the V MM stated that the advocate for the accused pleaded to the V MM not to remand the accused and only thereafter, Murthi came into the picture, resulting in the duo filing a memo of undertaking to vacate the house, followed by Murthi filing a memo accepting the undertaking given by his sons.

Court expressed that the accused were represented by an advocate at the time of remand, and he would not have been so guile to make his clients file a memo of undertaking had the V MM been disinclined to remand them in judicial custody.

In view of the above, it is limpid that the alleged contemnors had filed an undertaking into the Court, which they had no intention of honouring, and had successfully extricated themselves from remand proceedings and their contention that the undertaking was given by them under coercion defies credulity.

Power of High Court to punish for Contempt of Courts subordinate to it, is recognized in Section 10 of the Contempt of Courts Act and it is well settled that a wilful breach of an undertaking given to the Court would constitute civil contempt.

Therefore, the subsequent act of deliberately reneging from the terms of the undertaking by the alleged contemnors constitutes a serious interference in the administration of justice, and the respondents were held to be guilty of Section 2(b) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.

The contempt petition was allowed.[P.S. Murthi v. P.S. Vijay, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 2052, decided on 04-06-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For petitioner:  Mr. T. Arun Kumar for M/s. Tamizh Law Firm

For respondents: Mr. V. Krishnamoorthy

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: In a case relating to Prevention of Corruption Act, the 3-judge bench of Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah*, JJ has partly allowed the appeal regarding quantum of sentence, while concurrent order of conviction by the Courts below was confirmed.

The appellant was convicted for offences under Sections 7, 13(2) read with 13(1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 whereby the Special Judge had sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of two years with fine of Rs 5,000; which was confirmed by the High Court of judicature at Madras.

Aggrieved and dissatisfied, the appellant contended that he was a senior citizen aged about 69/70 years and had been already dismissed from service on being convicted for the offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Therefore, it was prayed to reduce the sentence imposed to the sentence already undergone.

Considering the fact that, out of two years sentence imposed by the Special Court, confirmed by the High Court, the appellant had already undergone approximately one year and one month and that the appellant was a senior citizen aged about 70 years who had been already dismissed from service, the Court stated,

“The ends of justice would be met if the sentence of two years rigorous imprisonment as imposed by the learned Special Court, confirmed by the High Court, is reduced to that of one year and one month rigorous imprisonment.”[S. Sundara Kumar v. State, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 21, decided on 13-01-2021]


*Justice M.R. Shah has penned this judgment

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy, JJ has directed that all old age people who are eligible for pension should be regularly paid pension and those identified older people should be provided necessary medicines, masks, sanitizers and other essential goods by respective States.

The Court further directed that as and when any individual request is made, the same shall be attended to by the Administration with all promptness. The care givers of those old age homes should be provided personal protection and appropriate sanitization should also be undertaken in the old age homes.

The direction was passed after it was told that the older people, who are living alone, are worst sufferers and they are not able to get medicines, masks, sanitizers and other essential goods. The care givers of these people are also not equipped with personal protection equipment and are also untrained. The petitioner submitted that the older people have already been identified since most of them are getting pension from the States under the different schemes and that appropriate direction be issued for timely payment of old age pension to all elder persons who are in receipt of the pension.

On the submission that the elderly people are not getting priority in the Government hospital irrespective of their capacity to pay, the Court observed that the elderly people should be given priority in the admission in the Government hospital looking to their vulnerability for COVID 19. In event of any complaint made by the elderly people, the hospital administration concerned shall take immediate steps to remedy their grievances.

The States have to file their reply affidavit within four weeks.

[Dr. Ashwani Kumar v. Union of India, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 620 , order dated 04.08.2020]


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Kerala High Court
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]

Kerala High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of  Devan Ramachandran, J. granted relief to a helpless senior citizen holding that the wife of her deceased nephew was obliged to maintain her.

Petitioner herein was the wife of nephew of a senior citizen who had executed a gift deed in favour of her now deceased nephew, with a specific covenant therein that he will take care of her during her life time. However, petitioner’s husband (nephew) subsequently died leaving the gifted property to petitioner. Subsequently, the senior citizen was driven out of her house by the petitioner and was taken back only under order of the Maintenance Tribunal.

The instant petition assails the order of Maintenance Tribunal contending that petitioner was not a ‘relative’ statutorily obligated to take care of the senior citizen, she being only the wife of nephew of senior citizen.

Sole question for determination was: whether the wife of deceased nephew of a senior citizen was obligated as per Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 to maintain the senior citizen after her husband’s death solely because the senior citizen had, during the life time of nephew, gifted property to him with the reciprocal covenant to maintain her.

The Court noted that as per Section 2(g) of the Act, a person would be construed to be relative of a childless senior citizen, if such person is in possession of or would inherit his/her property. Further, as per Section 4(4) of the Act, any person being a relative of a senior citizen, who is in possession of the property of such citizen, would be obligated to maintain him/her. Thus, a conjoint reading of these two provisions bound the petitioner with obligation to maintain senior citizen.

In view of the aforesaid interpretation, the petition was dismissed.[S. Sheeja v. Maintenance Appellate Tribunal,2018 SCC OnLine Ker 4949, decided on 14-11-2018]

Chhattisgarh High Court
Case BriefsHigh Courts

Chhattisgarh High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Goutam Bhaduri, J. allowed a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC by a senior citizen couple.

The petitioners, aged 89 and 77 years, were father and mother of Respondent 1. They invoked jurisdiction of the Court by moving an application under Section 24 of Maintenance and Welfare of the Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 for vacating the house by removing their son and daughter-in-law. A police complaint was filed alleging that the petitioners were subjected to torture, cruelty and misbehavior; they were isolated and cornered; made to live in captivity in their own house. The petitioners sought for help. The trial court dismissed the application on the ground that the eviction prayed for was of a civil nature, therefore, the application could not be entertained. The petitioners filed a revision before District and Sessions Judge which was also dismissed. Aggrieved thus, the petitioners were before the High Court.

The High Court referred to the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Act. It was noted that by virtue of Section 3, the Act has an overriding effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other statute. In the instant case, the ownership of the house belonged solely to the petitioner. The Court perused Section 24 and noted that the object is to protect the senior citizens and the provision is intended to provide a preventive remedy which can be granted quickly. Finally, it was observed, the anxiety to stop the right of the abuse of senior citizen(s) is to be made effective, as otherwise, it would be a symbolic collapse of the legal system by not responding to the request or by adhering to the dummy mode by courts. Under the circumstances of the case, the interim application filed by the petitioners seeking eviction of respondents was allowed. District Magistrate was directed to evict the respondents within 30 days. The petition was, thus, allowed. [Pramod Ranjankar v. Arunashankar, 2018 SCC OnLine Chh 548, dated 18-07-2018]