DCs cannot pass eviction order on senior citizens’ complaint: HCUpdated: Jan 25, 2020, 22:17 IST
The Punjab and Haryana high court has held that deputy commissioners (DCs) adjudicating a dispute between family members on the complaint of a senior citizen can’t pass eviction orders.
The high court bench of justice RN Raina quashed these provisions in the action plans of Punjab, Haryana Chandigarh terming these in violation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.
“Even beneficial legislation can’t be stretched beyond the confines of the law and to the breaking point in the grave matter of eviction beyond the provisions of the parent Act,” the bench said.
The high court was hearing a plea from a Patiala woman having two children against whom eviction orders were passed by the DC on the complaint of her mother-in-law. The husband of the petitioner woman and her father-in-law had died. The woman, who came to India in 2014, and her mother-in-law entered into a dispute as soon as the former’s husband died. The matter reached high court in February 2018.
The case was argued over four months and culminated in a 148-page judgment. Lawyers say it is the first-of-its-kind judgment in the country on the issue.
While senior advocate Anupam Gupta appeared for the petitioner woman, senior advocate Puneet Bali pleaded for her mother-in-law. Advocate generals of Punjab and Haryana Atul Nanda and Baldev Raj Mahajan argued the case themselves after the court issued notices to the Chandigarh administration and Haryana as well. Additional solicitor general Satya Pal Jain represented the Centre.
The action plans were prepared under state government rules for the effective implementation of the Central Act. Punjab action plan was notified in 2014.
The petitioner had argued that the action plan was ultra vires the Act itself, further saying that objects and purposes of the law was only to establish only a maintenance tribunal and eviction was not mandated in central law. The DCs act as maintenance tribunal under the Act.
Both Punjab and Haryana governments had reasoned that action plan was for the welfare of senior citizens.
The high court termed these action plans as an “executive order” observing that the DCs do not possess the power of eviction. It is open to wide abuse of the process of law in the hands of the executive, the court said, adding that plans do not lay down any guidelines to control, guide or supervise such extreme harsh and tyrannical quasi judicial powers by the DCs.
The court further said that the Maintenance Tribunal is not an eviction tribunal and eviction can take place only through civil suits dealt with by the judicial courts, which adjudicate on disputes with regard of property. “Laws of land reform in India …all of which have greatly contributed to a new social order ….has led to complexities in litigation which happens only in India. Only judges should handle this and not the executive officers,” the court observed.