Maintenance Tribunal can evict Legal Heirs on the ground of ill-treatment of parents, Delhi HC

Maintenance Tribunal can evict Legal Heirs on the ground of ill-treatment of parents, Delhi HC

Aditi Singh

The Delhi High Court has held that a Maintenance Tribunal constituted under The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents & Senior Citizens Act, 2007 (Act) has the power to evict legal heirs from self-acquired or ancestral property of parents on account of ill-treatment or non-maintenance.

The judgment was pronounced by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kameswar Rao in a Letters Patent Appeal against an order of a single-judge bench, directing the appellant and his brother to vacate the residential property in the name of their parents, on the ground of abuse.

In doing so, the single-judge Bench had upheld an order passed by the Maintenance Tribunal.

Parents of the appellants had filed a petition under the Act before the Tribunal, alleging that both of them have been physically assaulted, maltreated and harassed by their sons. The elderly parents had also disowned and disinherited the appellant and his brother.

The judgment authored by Justice Rao, rejected the appellant’s submission that the Tribunal did not have the jurisdiction to direct the appellant to vacate the property concerned. Relying on the Delhi Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Rules, 2009, framed by the Delhi Government, the Court stated,

A reading of the Rules framed by the Government of NCT clearly reflect that a senior citizen can file an application seeking eviction of his son and daughter or legal heir from his self-acquired or ancestral property on the ground of ill-treatment or non-maintenance.”

The Court also rejected the appellant’s plea that in the absence of a claim for maintenance by the parents, a petition under Section 23 would not be maintainable.

A claim for maintenance under Section 4 is not a condition precedent for passing an order of eviction under Section 23 of the Act, the Court said.

There is nothing in Section 23, which pre-supposes an application for maintenance as a prerequisite for seeking a relief under it. The scope of Section 23 is to declare the transfer of property by a senior citizen with an intent that the transferee shall provide the basic amenities and physical needs to the transferor and if such transferee refuses or fails to provide such amenities and physical needs, in such an eventuality, the transfer of property can be declared void by the Tribunal. A senior citizen may be contended if the transfer of property effected is treated as void so as to enable him to maintain himself from the estate, for which a senior citizen may not seek maintenance.”, the Court observed.

Section 4 of the Act enables a Senior Citizen including a parent who is unable to maintain himself from his own earnings or out of the property owned by him to make an application under Section 5 for his/her maintenance so that he/she can lead a normal life.

The Court thus held,

In view of the discussion above, we do not see any merit in the appeal. The same is dismissed. No costs.

The Appellant was represented by Advocates Viresh B. Saharya and Akshat Agarwal. Delhi Government was represented by Advocates Satyakam and Mohit Kumar Bafna. The Parents were represented by Advocate Aakanksha Kaul.

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