Elderly people can now be rest assured and live in a safer environment at home. No adult child can force his senior citizen parents to allow him to stay in their house. A senior citizen can appeal with the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act (Senior Citizens Act), 2007 to evict abusive adult children if required. The Bombay high court recently clarified this position in a case that was no less sensational than the storyline of Bollywood film Baghban which starred Hema Malini and Amitabh Bachchan as an ageing couple.
The case in question was brought by a son against his aged mother for having initiated maintenance and eviction proceedings against him and his family under the Senior Citizens Act, 2007. After she filed a complaint against her son and his family, the Tribunal for Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens had ordered the eviction of her son and his family, invoking Section 4 of the Act. Section 4 casts a duty on adult children/ grandchildren to maintain senior citizens.
73-year old Lilabai Shivaji Mane submitted before the High Court that she wanted her son and his family out of her house on account of the mental and physical violence meted out to her by the son and his wife. However, the son pointed out that none of her complaints had yielded any result, therefore, Domestic Violence cases filed by his mother was dismissed.
Justice RD Dhanuka of Bombay High Court found no merit in any of these defences. The Court upheld the Tribunal’s eviction order and directed that the son and his family vacate his mother’s house within two weeks. Liberty was also given to the senior citizen to use police assistance to carry out the eviction, if necessary.
Coincidentally, the same ruling was passed in similar cases at Delhi, Punjab and Haryana high courts earlier this year. The Delhi HC found that the local government had allowed a senior citizen to complain to district authorities to evict abusive children only from a self-acquired property, despite the fact that the Senior Citizens Act makes no such distinction and gives protection to parents even in a rented accommodation. The High Court ruling came while hearing an appeal filed by an alcoholic man, who had challenged the tribunal’s order to evict him for a Civil Lines residence where his parents live.
For a nation that prides itself in family values and respect for elders, there are too many instances of abusive children to ignore. The elderly are already dealing with the health, societal, financial and psychological issues of ageing. For them to survive mental and physical torture from their own children who they’ve loved and raised is unfair. This ruling is one step in the direction of justice for this section of society.
It’s time entitled sons realize that being biologically related doesn’t give them the right to privilege or property if they don’t honour their duties within the family.