MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court last week noted the "disturbing trend" in the city, especially among the wealthy class, wherein the children subject their old parents to all kinds of harassment and torture during their twilight years. The HC also voiced concern over the pendency of litigations in the tribunals dealing with pleas by old parents seeking protection from their own children, who do not even for a thought, think of their lives but only focus on their properties.
A bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Madhav Jamdar in a strongly worded order, ousted Shweta Shetty, a German citizen holding an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI).
The bench was dealing with a plea filed by Shweta's 94-year-old father, through advocate Dr Sujay Kantawala seeking her eviction from the house. He claimed that Shweta was one of the four daughters he had and subjected him to torture and mental harassment.
On the other hand, Shweta contended that she had a right in the father's property and even a share.
While hearing the matter, the bench in its orders said, "Indeed, it is our experience that in this city, and particularly or most especially amongst the wealthy of this city, senior citizens and elderly parents are being subjected to all kinds of harassment and deprivation in their twilight years."
"In case after case, we have complaints from senior citizens that their own sons and daughters are harassing them," the judges said, adding, "In every case, the harassment is an attempt to somehow grab the senior citizen’s property in his or her lifetime without a thought spared to the mental or physical health well-being or happiness of these seniors."
The present case, the bench said, was no different. "The father says Shweta demands ‘her share’. What is her ‘share’ while he is alive? She has none. He may indeed give his flat and all wealth away inter vivos. That is his choice. She cannot prevent him from doing so. So long as he is alive, Shweta has no ‘share’ in his property," the judges held.
In their order, the judges, further noted that the pending cases in the tribunals dealing with the pleas of such old parents.
"We do not believe that it is the statutory intent that the harassment to a senior citizen should continue while the Tribunal is flooded or inundated with some evidence or the other only to prolong or delay matters," the bench said, adding, "The one thing that senior citizens do not have the benefit or luxury of is time. It is not on their side, and every day’s delay before a Tribunal like this hurts senior citizens exponentially more than the younger generation."