Elderly parents harassed for property: Bombay HC

A division bench of justices Gautam Patel and Madhav Jamdar said there were complaints from senior citizens that their sons and daughters have been harassing them
The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act is a comprehensive law that makes children responsible to take care of their old parents. (HT Photo/Representative use)
The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act is a comprehensive law that makes children responsible to take care of their old parents. (HT Photo/Representative use)
Updated on Nov 30, 2021 09:39 AM IST
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ByKanchan Chaudhari

Sons and daughters harass elderly parents to grab their properties, especially among Mumbai’s wealthy sections, the Bombay high court has said while dismissing a woman’s petition challenging a tribunal’s order evicting her from her 94-year-old father’s residence for harassing him.

A division bench of justices Gautam Patel and Madhav Jamdar said they have complaints from senior citizens that their sons and daughters are harassing them. “In every case, the harassment is an attempt to somehow grab the senior citizen’s property in his or her lifetime without a thought spared to the mental or physical health well-being or happiness of these seniors.”

The bench dismissed the woman’s petition saying the case was no different.

The 94-year-old said his daughter returned to Mumbai in 2015 after a brief stay in Germany and moved into his flat unannounced. He said while he was suffering from various age-related ailments and was required to be hospitalised, instead of contributing to the house, the daughter was rude and aggressive and soon started badgering him for her share in the property.

Sujay Kantawala, who appeared for the 94-year-old, said his client felt so intimidated at times that he would lock himself up in his room. He added the daughter caused his client physical distress and also damaged the house.

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The daughter challenged the tribunal’s order claiming the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act did not provide for eviction and therefore the tribunal exceeded its jurisdiction.

The court said the terminology is not determinative. “Removal of a person with no right in the premises is not eviction so as to attract any such prohibition,” said the court. It added the house in question was owned by the father and during his lifetime the daughter had no right over it.

“After all the statutory intent is to protect senior citizens. It is not to foist on senior citizens an imaginary claim over their own property where the claimant has no such right, to begin with. The statutory intent is not to limit the rights of senior citizens, but exactly the reverse.”

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Monday, January 17, 2022