P&H High Court Discards Illegal Transfer of elderly widow’s assest

Last week, the Punjab and Haryana High Court came to the aid of a 76-year-old widow who had been evicted from her home by her son after her house was illegally transferred into his name. The primary aim of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 (2007 Act) is to protect the rights of elderly parents who are oftenly abandoned by their offspring, according to a bench consisting of Justice Augustine George Masih and Justice Ashok Kumar Verma.

The respondent in this case is an elderly widow whose deceased husband had left her a house and a shop in order to make sure her well-being. The widow’s youngest son, however, had illicitly transferred the house given to her in his name two years after her husband’s death. Her son then physically threatened the elderly widow and drove her out of the house. The plaintiff widow had proceeded to the Panchayat for conciliation proceedings two or three times but had gotten nowhere. As a result, she filed an application under Section 5(1) of the 2007 Act with the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) exercising the powers of Presiding Officer at the Maintenance Tribunal in Tohana. As a matter of fact, she pleaded for the reinstatement of the house registry and one shop, as well as protection of her life, liberty, and property.

Keeping in view the respondent’s grievances, the SDM instructed the petitioner to transfer the house into the name of the widow and grant Rs. 2,000/- per month as a maintenance stipend to his mother in an order dated August 19, 2019. The transfer document dated September 4, 2015, which illegally moved the widow’s stores into the petitioner’s name, was also ordered to be invalidated.

The petitioner, who was discontented with the ruling, filed an appeal with the Fatehabad District Collector-led Appellate Tribunal. The Appellate Tribunal partially overturned the SDM’s decision, upholding the transfer deed cancellation while assuring that the widow receives maintenance from the petitioner and is permitted to remain in her home. As a result, the respondent widow filed a writ case demanding for the Appellate Tribunal’s impugned ruling of February 12, 2020 to be set aside. The widow’s writ petition was granted by the Single Judge of the Court on April 24, 2021, in which the SDM’s order was instructed to be upheld in its entirety. As a result, the petitioner has filed this Letters Patent Appeal against the Single Judge’s impugned ruling.

The petition was dismissed by the Court, which upheld the Single Judge’s decree in giving effect to the SDM’s aforesaid directions.

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