Senior Citizen Tribunal Should Ensure That Laws Are Not Misused When Children Are Denied Their Rightful Share Of Property: Bombay High Court






Case Title: Nitin Gupta vs Deputy Collector

A division bench of Justice Sandeep V Marne of the Bombay High Court while setting aside the order and instructing the petitioner (son) to allocate a residence for his father along with the monthly maintenance of Rs 25,000 has issued directive to Tribunals operating under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act. The directive aims to prevent potential misuse of the provisions within the Act by children who are deprived of their rightful share in senior citizens’ immovable properties.

The bench highlighted that the provisions of the Act were being exploited as a mechanism to resolve property disputes among the descendants of elderly individuals.

“The provision of Senior Citizens Act cannot be used as a machinery for settling property disputes between the heirs of senior citizens. However, unfortunately in many cases, it is observed that such a course of action is taken by the parties. The Tribunal therefore has to ensure that the provision is not misused by children who are denied share in the immovable properties by seeking to get gift-deed annulled by filing application through senior citizens”.

The bench granted relief to an individual who contested a Senior Citizen Tribunal order from October 2022, which invalidated gift deeds that had been executed in his favor by his father.

The petitioner, Nitin Gupta, asserted that his father had executed gift deeds transferring ownership of three flats to him in 2019 and 2020.

In February 2022, the father approached the Tribunal seeking the return of several properties that he had gifted to the petitioner, along with a request for a monthly maintenance payment of Rs 50,000.

According to the application submitted to the Tribunal, the petitioner had acquired ownership through four gift deeds and subsequently mistreated his father by dismissing staff and confining him to a single room. The father stated that in 2021, he relocated from Mumbai to live with his other son in Surat. Allegedly, this son had neither a source of income nor any remaining property.

The Tribunal invalidated the deeds and instructed the petitioner to surrender the three flats to his father Challenging the Tribunal’s decision, the petitioner contended that his father had prompted the Tribunal action through his sibling, the other son residing in Surat, who purportedly held an interest in the properties.

In response, Justice Marne highlighted that section 23(1) of the Senior Citizens Act, concerning the revocation of property transfers under certain circumstances, should not be exploited for settling property disputes among a senior citizen’s heirs.

“The provision operates as an exception to a validly effected transactions of transfer of immovable properties which can be revoked in rare and exceptional circumstances by the Maintenance Tribunal”.

The benchinstructed the petitioner to allocate a residence for his father in one of the flats, along with a monthly maintenance payment of ₹25,000.

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