Supreme Court to look into contentious Senior Citizens Act Varied interpretations of Section 23 of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 by different High Courts lead to the filing of SLP The Supreme Court three judges bench comprising Justices S. K. Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy issued notice on 8 January 2021 on two petitions challenging a judgment...
Access the exclusive LEGAL ERAStories,Editorial and Expert Opinion
Supreme Court to look into contentious Senior Citizens Act
Varied interpretations of Section 23 of Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 by different High Courts lead to the filing of SLP
The Supreme Court three judges bench comprising Justices S. K. Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy issued notice on 8 January 2021 on two petitions challenging a judgment of the full bench of the Kerala High Court which had ruled that an express condition to provide maintenance to parents is necessary in transfer deed for it to be cancelled under Section 23 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 (The Senior Citizens Act).
The judgment passed by a full bench of the Kerala High Court on 22 September 2020 stipulated that the condition, as required under Section 23(1) of the Senior Citizen Act, is now challenged through the special leave petitions.
The special leave petitions asserted that the view taken by the full bench of the High Court was a 'hyper-technical and restrictive interpretation of Section 23, contrary to the object sought to be achieved by the Legislature'.
The petitioners have also highlighted the conflicting views taken up by different High Courts. Judgments of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Madras High Court and Karnataka High Court diverging with that of the judgment passed by Kerala High Court. The issue is in dire need to be adjudicated and settled by the Supreme Court.
The special leave petitions were filed on the grounds that, firstly there was no requirement to provide basic amenities and basic physical needs expressly in writing in the transfer deed. Secondly, such condition defeated the Object and Reasons of the Act. Thirdly, the Impugned failed to consider Proviso 2 and 3 of Section 92 of Evidence Act which permits the parties to lead oral evidence on which a document was silent and not inconsistent with its terms. Fourthly, that the High Court while considering the aspect of Transfer of Property Act failed to consider Section 23(2) of the Senior Citizens Act.
"The High Court, in nutshell, has held that an express recital should be present in the deed of transfer to the effect that the transferees shall provide the basic amenities and physical needs to the transferor which is highly unjustified and depriving the rights of senior citizens who are otherwise deprived by the children of their valuable properties," one of the petitions mentioned.
An extract from plea read as followed, "The statute was formulated in the wake of an increasing number of cases in which senior citizens and parents were being abandoned by their own children/relatives after having transferred their assets to them. The senior citizens were thus violated of their fundamental right to live with dignity in their twilight years and the aforesaid aspects led to the enactment of the Senior Citizens Act. Therefore, it is submitted that any interpretation of the Act must do justice to its legislative intent and objective, especially considering the fact that the Senior Citizens Act is a beneficial and welfare legislation. Any reading of the Act must necessarily be made in such manner that it benefits the senior citizen in question.