Kolkata, July 26, 2021: The Calcutta High Court has emphasized that the right of senior a citizen to exclusively reside in his own house must be viewed from the prism of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
While disposing of a plea by two senior citizens seeking eviction of their son and daughter-in-law from their residence, the Single Judge Bench of Justice Rajasekhar Mantha observed that children and spouses living in a senior citizen’s house are “licensees” at best and their licence comes to an end as soon as the senior citizen ceases to be comfortable with their presence.
The High Court also said that a nation that cannot take care of its aged, old and infirm citizens cannot be regarded as having achieved complete civilization.
Although in the present case, the son and daughter-in-law had already been pulled out of the residence of the petitioners at the time of passing the order, the High Court highlighted that: “To compel a senior citizen to approach either a civil court (the jurisdiction of which is any way barred under Section 27 of the Senior Citizens Act, 2007) or take recourse to a special Statute like the 2007 Act would in most cases be extremely erroneous and painful for a person in the sunset days of life”, observed Justice Mantha.
The High Court also briefly dwelt on the right of residence of a daughter-in-law if a claim is made under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, and relied on the judgment of Apex Court in S. Vanitha Vs. Deputy Commissoner, Bangaluru Urban District, wherein the top Court had held that the Domestic Violence Act and the Senior Citizens Act should be harmoniously interpreted.
In the case before the Calcutta High Court, the daughter-in-law had not claimed any right of residence under the Domestic Violence Act. As such, Justice Mantha opined that there was no impediment in allowing the senior citizen’s exclusive residential rights or directing the eviction of the son and daughter-in-law.