The purpose of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 is to safeguard the rights and interests of senior citizens against actions by their children in the form of harassment. The Delhi High Court was placed with two substantial questions of paramount importance as follows:
- Whether the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 provides for a remedy to Senior Citizens/parents of monetary maintenance by the children/relative or does it provide for eviction of adult children in case of parental abuse?
- Whether a claim for eviction before the Maintenance Tribunal is maintainable under Section 23 of Act of 2007 and that too on allegations of forcible ouster and in the absence of a claim for maintenance?
In the matter of Sunny Paul Versus State of NCR and Others presented before it, the Bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kamemswar Rao held that a claim for maintenance is not a precursor to passing an eviction order under Section 23 of the Act. The appellant contended that the absence of a claim for maintenance shall result in the petition under Section 23 being not maintainable. The Bench referred to the judgments of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Promil Tomar and others v. State of Haryana and others and Justice Shanti Sarup Dewan, Chief Justice (Retired) and another v. Union Territory, Chandigarh and others in upholding its conclusion as well as referring to the amended Rule 22(3)(1)(i) of Delhi Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (Amendment) Rules 2017, which stipulates that a senior citizen or a parent can make an application to the concerned Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate for eviction of his son, daughter or legal heir from his property of any kind whether moveable or immoveable, ancestral or self-acquired, tangible or intangible and includes rights or interests in such properties on account of his non-maintenance and ill-treatment. The Bench, whilst concluding its legal analysis on the questions put forth before it, dismissed the appeal by stating that:
“If a section is capable of two constructions, that construction should be preferred which fulfils the policy of the Act and is more beneficial to the persons in whose interest, the Act has been passed. The said proposition of law is squarely applicable to the issue in hand, as noted by us in the aforesaid paragraphs. This judgment would not help the case of the appellant.”
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