Denial of access to one's own house amounts to denial of basic amenities, said the Bombay High Court while directing the son and daughter-in-law of an elderly woman to vacate her premises in suburban Juhu.
Justice Sandeep Marne recently upheld the order of the Senior Citizens Maintenance Tribunal revoking two gift deeds executed by an elderly woman in favour of her younger son and directed the son and daughter-in-law to vacate the subject property.
Justice Marne also held that the son had failed to perform his duty to provide basic amenities and physical needs to his widowed mother.
“The Gifts were executed out of natural love and affection towards son, which was the only possible consideration for execution thereof. Inbuilt in such love and affection is the duty of the son to provide basic amenities and physical needs to the widowed mother. The events that have occurred post execution of gift deeds indicate that such love and affection between the Mother and son no longer exists,” the court observed.
Saying that the son failed to provide basic amenities to the mother and hence had no right to seek a gift from mother.
“It was never son’s property,” says court
“Along with love and affection, the son has perhaps failed to perform the duty of providing the basic amenities and physical needs to his mother. It was never son’s property. He had no right to seek a gift thereof,” the court added.
The HC accordingly dismissed the petition filed by the son and his wife challenging the tribunal’s order in favour of his mother.
“This may not be an irreversible situation in every case. Mother’s love and affection can be won back. At the moment, however, the extreme measure of restoration of gifted properties to mother, in my view, was warranted in the facts and circumstances of the case,” Justice Marne noted.
The mother had approached the tribunal under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act. She had alleged that her son threatened her to execute the gift deeds while her husband was in the ICU. She further claimed that the petitioners denied her access to her own bungalow, which she had occupied for 30 years.
She said that she was left without a residence after her husband’s death due to a dispute with her son, thereby forcing her to stay in a rented flat.
Elder brother instigating mother against younger, claims advocate
Her son’s advocate argued that the elder brother was instigating the mother against him.
The advocate for the mother countered that the younger son was withholding original property documents and benefiting unfairly from the properties owned by the mother.
The court rejected the argument that her elder son had instigated the mother's actions, observing that her allegations were supported by documents, and the alleged instigation was not a sufficient reason to dismiss her case.
The court upheld the tribunal's decision to revoke the gift deeds, evict the petitioners, and injunct them from mentally or physically torturing her. The court however, continued the interim order granting status quo for six weeks.