Bombay HC Upholds Eviction Of Siblings From Dead Father’s Property For Ill-Treating Stepmother
The Bombay High Court recently upheld the eviction of siblings from their dead father’s property for ill-treating their stepmother saying that a large number of elderly are not being looked after by their families.
The Court said that due to the withering of the joint family system, many old persons are forced to spend their twilight years all alone and are exposed to emotional neglect and lack of physical and financial support.
A Single Bench of Justice R.G. Avachat held, “The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Act of 2007 is – Traditional norms and values of the Indian society laid stress on providing care for the elderly. However, due to withering of the joint family system, a large number of elderly are not being looked after by their family. Consequently, many older persons, particularly widowed women are now forced to spend their twilight years all alone and are exposed to emotional neglect and to lack of physical and financial support. … the tribunal was, therefore, justified to pass the order directing the Petitioners to vacate the dispute premises and handover its possession to Respondent No.3.”
Advocate Adithya R. Iyer appeared for the petitioners while Advocate Reshmarani J. Nathani and APP Arfan Sait represented the respondents.
On the demise of the mother of the petitioners, their father married a woman and thereafter passed away in 2014. The disputed premises belonged to the father and both petitioners were living separately from their father and stepmother. The petitioners used to harass and ill-treat their stepmother on the demise of their father.
The stepmother was above 60 years and, thus, a senior citizen. She, therefore, filed an application before the Tribunal and urged for eviction of the petitioners from the disputed premises. The Tribunal directed the petitioners to vacate and hand over the said premises to their stepmother within 15 days.
In view of the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court noted, “… ageing has become a major social challenge and there is a need to give more attention to the care and protection for the older persons. Though the parents can claim maintenance under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the procedure is both time-consuming as well as expensive.”
The Court observed that there is a need to have simple, inexpensive, and speedy provisions to claim maintenance for parents.
“It is true that the tribunal has jurisdiction to grant maintenance allowance not exceeding Rs.10,000/- per month. Section 5 of the Act of 2007 speaks of application for maintenance. If one goes by the definition of the term maintenance, it includes a provision for residence”, said the Court.
The Court, however, directed the stepmother of the petitioners to not create any third-party interest in respect of the disputed premises which would be prejudicial to the right, title, and interest of the petitioners.
Accordingly, the Court dismissed the writ petition and upheld the order of eviction.
Cause Title- Mayur Vaijanath Tawde & Anr. v. State of Maharashtra & Ors.