West Delhi resident Rama Devi's son left home after differences with wife Radhika. When Rama, 65, filed a complaint of harassment, Radhika also filed a complaint of domestic violence and demanded exclusive right to property.
The court concluded that Radhika couldn't lay claim as Rama owned the property and hence cannot be treated as a joint family property.
Rama was lucky to get timely legal help. But many other senior citizens are not. The problem also lies with their conditioning. Many do not think of the option of taking legal recourse and if they want to, they do not have the wherewithal.
These findings were established in a survey of senior citizens: 'Legal Provisions and Practices in context of Protection of Human Right of Older Persons' carried out by NGO Agewell Foundation. About 7,500 of the 50,000 respondents were from Delhi-NCR. (see box)
Said Agewell's Himanshu Rath, "Legal provisions and practices help in providing a socially harmonious environment to the elderly. There is an urgent need to relook at the existing legal provisions to come up with more equitable and stronger legal provisions to encourage older person-friendly legal practices."
SBK Singh, joint commissioner of police (crime), too, had earlier spoken about legal provisions for the seniors. "At a meeting with senior citizens last week, he had emphasised upon the need of preparing a will in their lifetime," said JR Gupta of Confederation of Senior Citizens Associations of Delhi.