The High Court of Delhi, through learned judge, Justice Yahwant Varma in the case of Mr. Neeraj Bhasin v. Divisional Commissioner, Delhi & Ors (W.P.(C) 9757/2022, CM APPL. 28925/2022) observed that a senior citizen may claim a right of exclusive residence even though he or she may be only able to establish a “right” or “interest” in such property even if such right or interest be lower than an exclusive ownership right
BRIEF FACTS: This writ petition was preferred assailing the validity of an order passed by the Divisional Commissioner acting as the Appellate Authority under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 rejecting an application for stay made in a pending appeal instituted by the petitioner. The Appellate Authority passing the impugned order took note of the submission that as per a will executed in favour of the senior citizen, the suit property stands in her name. The order further referred to a family settlement in respect of which the Appellate Authority had observed that the respondent had refused to accept that settlement and that issues pertaining to the same are pending trial before the competent Civil Court. It had further taken note of the fact that the petitioner appellant had his own property and as such no irreparable harm will be caused to him if he is asked to shift from the property in question.
FINDINGS OF THE COURT: The principal objective of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 is to make effective provisions for the maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens. The word “property” under the Act is defined to mean property of any kind whether moveable or immoveable, ancestral or self-acquired and includes rights or interests in such property. The court observed that it would therefore clearly follow that a senior citizen may claim a right of exclusive residence even though he or she may be only able to establish a “right” or “interest” in such property even if such right or interest be lower than an exclusive ownership right. Ultimately, the authorities under the Act are obliged to take into consideration the mental and physical well-being and security of the senior citizens and pass appropriate orders of protection bearing in mind the predominant purpose of the Act.
The court took note that the desire of the senior citizen to spend her days in quietude free from emotional and mental stress must be respected and protected. Viewed in that backdrop, the Court found no justification to interfere with the order impugned. The court observed that whether the family settlement had come to be validly made and would bind parties were issues which must be left to be canvassed and agitated by respective parties in appropriate civil proceedings. In view of the outright denial of execution of that instrument by the second respondent, the Court found no justification to grant any relief to the petitioner based on the settlement. The writ petition along with pending application fails was accordingly dismissed.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY – AMRUTHA K