Feeling threatened by his son and alleging "animal existence", former Punjab and Haryana high court chief justice Shanti Sarup Dewan, 85, along with wife Romilla, 75, has once again moved the HC to seek ouster of the son from their house in Sector 11.
As Dewan has challenged earlier declining of his plea by a single-judge bench, on Wednesday the court not only sought replies from the UT administration and Dewan's son Suvir by May 28, but also directed the former CJ as well as Suvir to remain present with a list of relatives who could be mediators for an amicable solution.
Besides seeking security -- one constable was subsequently deputed at the house -- Dewan wanted that Suvir, along with his wife Vandana and their daughter Shaina, be shifted from the family house (number 642) in sector 11B to Suvir's own house (number 1016) in Sector 2, Panchkula. At present, Suvir lives on the upper floor of the Sector-11 house while the elderly Dewans are on the ground floor.
But declining his earlier plea, a single-judge bench had on May 17 said that whether the petitioner had exclusive possession of the Sector-11 house should be left to a civil court. On Dewan's demand for special cells to deal with complaints of senior citizens, the judge had ruled that the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 was already in place. The judge did, however, order the UT police to visit the petitioners' house to take stock, after which a constable was deputed.
In his challenge that was heard by a division bench of justices Surya Kant and RP Nagrath on Wednesday, Dewan has noted that though he lives in his self-acquired house in Sector 11 and had placed ownership documents before the single-judge bench, the judge had presumed there was a dispute over the property without calling his son. At this age, Dewan said, the elderly couple could not be told to run around in civil courts, especially keeping in view the former CJ's status.
Dewan has also noted that even when the act of 2007 says that states and UTs have to prescribe a comprehensive action plan for protection of senior citizens, no such plan has been prescribed. Also, there is no bar on approaching the HC under articles 226 and 227 of the constitution, and hence petitioners should not be told to approach an alternative authority (like the civil court), he has added.
"Once a protector of constitutional rights and values, the petitioner no. 1 (former HC chief justice Dewan) is approaching this hon'ble court for safeguard of his own constitutional rights," reads the petition filed by Shanti Sarup Dewan, 85, in the HC.
Dewan and his 75-year-old wife "do not live a peaceful life with honour and dignity, but their existence is mere animal existence at the hands of none else but their own son… in their own house". The plea further say that "because of the honour of the family and so that no harm comes on their son, they do not want to mention these instances (of ill-treatment) elaborately".
Know the family
Dewan retired as CJ of Punjab and Haryana HC in 1989. His two daughters are married and staying at their matrimonial homes, while son Suvir and his wife and daughter live in the Sector-11 house with the Dewans.
Dewan had bought Suvir a plot in Sector 6, Panchkula, but Suvir sold that plot in 1991 and purchased another in Sector 2 of Panchkula in his own name and built a house on it.