Read Order: Manjit Kaur v. The State of Punjab and others
Chandigarh, October 22, 2021: While dismissing the Appeal against the order of the Single Judge, which affirmed the cancellation of transfer deed of property ,the Punjab and Haryana High Court has opined that children are expected to look after their elderly parents properly which is not only a value based principle but a bounden duty as enshrined within the mandate of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.
Herein, the fourth respondent, Rachan Singh, is an old man being a Senior Citizen who is father of the appellant. He had transferred some land situated at Village Naulakha, Tehsil and District Fatehgarh Sahib in favour of the appellant by a registered deed of transfer Vasika No.2885 dated March 9,2016.
Later, the fourth respondent filed an application under Sections 5 and 23 before the Maintenance Tribunal-cum- Sub Divisional Magistrate, Fatehgarh Sahib (SDM) stating that after the transfer of the property, he had no source of income and the appellant is not looking after him.
The appellant was said to have thrown his father out of the house and as a result thereof, he had to live at an old age home, Prabhu Asra Home. He had also given Rs. 5 lakhs to the appellant in cash.
The application filed by the father was allowed by the Tribunal, and deed of transfer was ordered to be cancelled and the Assistant Collector 2nd Grade (C.R.O.), Fatehgarh Sahib had been directed to take necessary action for cancellation of the mutation.
The aforesaid order was upheld by the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Appellate Maintenance Tribunal, Fatehgarh. Aggrieved against the aforesaid orders, the appellant filed writ petition which has also resulted into dismissal by the impugned order passed by the Single Judge of this Court. Hence, the appellant challenged the aforesaid order in the present LPA.
The Division Bench of Justice Augustine George Masih and Justice Ashok Kumar Verma stated that the appellant could not be allowed to demonstrate that she had been condemned unheard as it was after hearing both the parties and appreciating the evidence on record, that the SDM had come to the conclusion that fourth respondent is an old man and he is not being looked after and due to lack of means with him to meet out his daily needs and shelter etc., he is living in Prabhu Asra Home in spite of the fact that he had already transferred his land by transfer of ownership in favour of the appellant.
The SDM came to the conclusion that appellant was not discharging her moral and legal responsibility of maintaining her father. As a result thereof, the SDM had cancelled the transfer which was also upheld by the Appellate Tribunal after hearing both the parties.
“To ensure social security of the elders, a special law, the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 was enacted by the Parliament to uphold the dignity and respect of senior citizens at the last phase of their life. State had serious concern about the challenges faced by the people in their old age. Apart from physical vulnerabilities, they face emotional and psychological challenges. On account of these frailties, they are totally dependent in the last phase of their life. The moral law formulated through the legislation is necessary to rationalise the well-being of all in the society”, said the Bench.
As per the Court, in the present case, the fact remained that after hearing the both parties, the SDM and Appellate Tribunal passed detailed, well-reasoned and speaking orders. Moreover, the SDM had rightly exercised his jurisdiction available under the provisions of the Act and cancelled the Vasika.
The Bench noted that section 23 (1) explicitly stipulates that in case the children fail to take care of their parents after transfer of the property of their parents in their favour, the said transfer of property shall be deemed to have been made by fraud or coercion or under undue influence and shall at the option of the transferor be declared void by the Tribunal. The provision under Section 23 (1) of the Act of 2007 attempts to provide a dignified existence to the elderly people.
“It is often seen that after receiving the property from their parents, the children abandon them. In such situation, the Maintenance of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 is an enabling lifeline for such old aged parents and senior citizens who are not looked after by their children and become neglected lots”, stated the Bench.
The Bench also added that section 23 is a deterrent to this and hence is beneficial for the elderly old aged people who are incapable of taking care of themselves in the last phase of their life. The children are expected to look after their elderly parents properly which is not only a value based principle but a bounden duty as enshrined within the mandate of the Act.
In the present case, there was clinching evidence on record to establish the fact that the old-aged had been driven out of the home at the hands of the appellant and as such he had been compelled to live in an old age home.
Thus, the Bench had no hesitation in observing that the appellant had acted in erosion of legal and moral values of maintaining his old aged father in his twilight years compelling him to live in an old age home. Dismissing LPA, the Bench concluded by saying that if such an act is permitted, it would amount to igniting the problems faced by old aged people in the last phase of their life resulting in mushrooming of old age homes.