Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act has no overriding effect over the right of residence of a woman in a shared household within the meaning of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act was decided by the Supreme Court in the case of S Vanitha vs. Deputy Commissioner, Bengaluru Urban District [Civil Appeal No. 3822 of 2020] presided over by Hon’ble Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Indira B
In this case, a senior citizen couple had filed an application under the provisions of the Senior Citizens Act seeking eviction of their daughter in law and grand-daughter from a residential house. Their application was allowed by the Assistant Commissioner and Karnataka High Court had given the orders to the appellant to evict the said house. Appellant filed a writ appeal in SC stating that she can’t be evicted from the shared household because of the protection given to her u/s 17 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005.She also argued that the old couple has not right to order her eviction under Senior Citizens Act, 2007, referring to the judgment of Satish Chandra Ahuja vs. Sneha Ahuja.
SC considered both the above mentioned legislations and noted that according to Senior Citizens Act, Senior citizens may have the authority to order an eviction but only if it is necessary to ensure the maintenance of the senior citizens or the parents. The court said “In the event of a conflict between special acts, the dominant purpose of both statutes would have to be analyzed to ascertain which one should prevail over the other”.
SC contended that the law protecting the interest of senior citizens is intended to ensure that they are not left destitute, or at the mercy of their children or relatives and on the other hand, the purpose of the PWDV Act 2005 can’t be ignored by a sleight of statutory interpretation.
It was decided that both the statutes should be harmoniously construed. Therefore, the right of a woman to secure a residence order in respect of a shared household cannot be defeated by the simple expedient of securing an order of eviction by adopting the summary procedure under the Senior Citizens Act 2007.
Hence, SC observed that since both the legislations are important in the case, neither of them can be ignored and it would be appropriate for the Tribunal constituted under the Senior Citizens Act 2007 to appropriately mould reliefs, after noticing the competing claims of the parties claiming under the PWDV Act 2005 and Senior Citizens Act 2007.
Hence, the decision was taken that Section 3 of the Senior Citizens Act, 2007 cannot be deployed to over-ride and nullify other protections in law, particularly that of a woman’s right to a “shared household‟ under Section 17 of the PWDV Act 2005.