Upholding the ‘right of senior citizens or parents to live peacefully and with dignity’, the Delhi High Court has ruled that “As long as the parents have the legal possession of the property, they can evict their abusive adult children.” Justice Manmohan, in his ruling, specified that the house need not be self-acquired or owned by the parents. This is a major improvisation in a 2007 law that had left it to state governments to frame rules to protect the life and property of senior citizens.
The court’s verdict came after it heard an appeal filed by an alcoholic former policeman and his brother, challenging a maintenance tribunal’s October 2015 order, to evict the two from the residence where their elderly and ailing parents lived. The brothers had contended that the tribunal had exceeded its jurisdiction in passing the eviction order, as there was no claim for maintenance and the relief was granted only on the allegations of physical assault, maltreatment, harassment and forceful ouster of their parents from the property.
The alcoholic, whose services were terminated from the Delhi Police, had said that even in cases of parental abuse, no eviction order could be passed under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007. The court, while interpreting the provisions of the Act, said: “The senior citizens’ maintenance tribunal can issue eviction order, to ensure that senior citizens live peacefully in their house, without being forced to accommodate a son who physically assaults and mentally harasses them or threatens to dispossess them.”
In its 51-page judgement, the court noted that the directions to evict the adult children from the property was necessary in certain cases like the present one, to ensure a normal life for senior citizens.
The court found that the Delhi government’s rules allowed a senior citizen to complain to the district authorities, to evict abusive children only from a self-acquired property, despite the fact that the Act makes no such distinction and gives protection to parents even in a rented accommodation. The court, consequently, directed the Delhi government to amend its rules and formulate an action plan, to protect the life and property of senior citizens.
The court stated “The Act, amongst other remedies, provides for eviction of adult children in cases of parental abuse, like in the present case,” and asked the SDM concerned and SHO, police station Civil Lines, to ensure that the sons were evicted from the house immediately.