Senior Citizens’ Tribunal Must Ensure Law Not Misused By Children Who Are Denied Share In Parents’ Properties: HC

Senior Citizens’ Tribunal Must Ensure Law Not Misused By Children Who Are Denied Share In Parents’ Properties: HC

The court also noted that the law being used as “machinery” for settling property disputes between legal heirs was “unfortunately”, and such a course of action is taken by parties in many cases

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Thursday, April 11, 2024, 04:03 PM IST
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Senior Citizens’ Tribunal Must Ensure Law Not Misused By Children Who Are Denied Share In Parents’ Properties: HC | Representative Photo

Mumbai: The maintenance tribunal under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act should ensure the law is not misused by children who are denied a share in the immovable properties of senior citizens, the Bombay high Court said on Wednesday. The court also noted that the law being used as “machinery” for settling property disputes between legal heirs was “unfortunately”, and such a course of action is taken by parties in many cases.

The HC made the observations while dealing with a petition filed by a man challenging the order of the maintenance tribunal nullifying various gift deeds executed by his senior citizen father in his favour. The man claimed that his brother, with whom the father is currently residing. instigated the father to approach the tribunal to seek annulment of gift deeds as he wants a share in the gifted flats.

The father approached the tribunal in February 2022

The father approached the tribunal in February 2022 and sought return of various properties gifted by him to his petitioner son and payment of maintenance of Rs 50, 000 per month. The father’s plea contended that after his wife passed away the previous year, the petitioner son got four gift deeds executed related to various immovable properties. Thereafter, he ill-treated him by removing servants and confining him to one room.

The father then left Mumbai to reside with another son in Surat. He then claimed that he neither has source of income nor any immovable property in his name and hence sought return of the same from the petitioner. The tribunal, in October 2022, allowed the father’s plea and declared as “null and void” the gift deeds executed by him in June 2019 and September 2020 in favour of the petitioner son for three flats, two in Kandivali and one in Andheri. The tribunal also directed the son to vacate and hand over possession of the three flats to the father.


Son moves court

The son challenged this before the high court. Son’s counsels, Girish Godbole, Manuj Borkar and Prasad Borkar, submitted that the father was never a sole owner of the said flats and that the son was the joint owner. Hence, the tribunal could not have directed the son to vacate the flats.  “The provision of Section 23(1) of Senior Citizens Act cannot be used as a machinery for settling property disputes between the heirs of senior citizens. However, unfortunately in many cases, it is observed that such a course of action is taken by the parties…,” Justice Sandeep Marne observed on April 10.  The judge further added: “The Tribunal therefore has to ensure that the provision is not misused by children who are denied share in the immovable properties by seeking to get gift-deed annulled by filing application through senior citizens.” 

While setting aside the tribunal’s order, the HC directed to ensure that the father is looked after. The judge directed the petitioner son to provide residence to his father in the Andheri flat and pay him Rs 25,000 per month as maintenance. 

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