Elderly persons are not being looked after by their kin due to the withering of the joint family system, the Bombay High Court said on Tuesday while ordering a man to vacate his mother’s home illegally occupied by him and his wife.
A division bench of Justices Girish Kulkarni and Firdosh Pooniwalla noted that ageing has become a major social challenge and hence there is a need to give more attention to the care and protection of senior citizens.
“Due to the withering of the joint family system, a large number of elderly are not being looked after by their family, consequently, many older persons, particularly widowed women are now forced to spend their twilight years all alone and are exposed to emotional neglect and to lack of physical and financial support,” the bench said.
The order was passed on a petition filed by one Dinesh Chandanshive against a September 2021 order of the Sub-Divisional Officer and Chairman of the Senior Citizens Maintenance Tribunal, directing him to vacate the residence belonging to his elderly mother Laxmi Chandanshive in suburban Mulund.
As per the woman, after the death of her husband in 2015, her son and his wife visited her and thereafter refused to leave the house. They allegedly harassed her and forced her to leave the house. The woman later started residing with her elder son in Thane.
The high court dismissed the petition and directed the man and his wife to vacate the premises within 15 days.
The bench in its order said being disowned by one’s own child causes trauma and no parent should suffer this way.
“In one’s life, there is much more than material things. Proud would be the parent of such children who would have their own achievements on all fronts and not look at the wealth and money of their old parents,” the bench said.
The bench added that several litigations that have reached the courts show that the world is not idealistic as human greed is a bottomless pit.
This was an “unfortunate saga” of a senior citizen mother who had to initiate proceedings against her son and his wife after she was illegally ousted from her residence, the HC observed.
“It is the most unfortunate that the mother in the twilight years of her life after her husband had passed away, instead of receiving love, affection, care and empathy from her sons and their family members (barring the eldest son), was required to take recourse to legal proceedings,” the bench noted.
The man in his appeal claimed since the residence belonged to his parents, he had legal rights to it.
The bench, however, noted that during the lifetime of the parents, a child cannot assert any legal right on the property.