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HC: Pb, Hry DMs can’t order eviction in senior citizen cases

January 26, 2020 06:43 AM


HC: Pb, Hry DMs can’t order eviction in senior citizen cases


The Punjab and Haryana high court made it clear that district magistrates (DM) in Punjab and Haryana cannot pass any order pertaining to eviction from the property or house while deciding the plea of a senior citizen under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens (MWPSC) Act, 2007.

According to the HC, only the judiciary, being well-versed with the legal procedures, is empowered to pass eviction order in such matters. Court was of the view that giving eviction powers to magistrates “is open to wide abuse of the process of law in the hands of the executive”.

The HC passed these orders while setting aside the action plan framed by Punjab and Haryana governments under the MWPSC Act, empowering district magistrates to pass orders to evict any ‘trouble-maker’ family member from a senior citizen’s property.

Justice Rajiv Narain Raina of the HC passed these orders on January 23, 2020, while deciding a petition filed by a Patiala woman challenging the Punjab rules-2014 framed under MWPSC Act providing powers to magistrates to pass eviction orders.

In its 148-page verdict, Justice Raina said, “…A family’s own special needs, circumstances, and expectations of each other are variable and their station in life, their social standing, their financial position can be vastly different that they cannot be measured on the same scale and with one brush of a heartless government order... Each case has to be decided on its own facts and circumstances [and] on the basis of evidence,” observed the high court.


‘Protection of property can’t be put off’

Challenging the rules, senior advocate Anupam Gupta submitted that the complexities of law, such as the nature of self-acquired property or ancestral property in the Hindu Mitakshara personal law, HUF, succession, inheritance, women’s rights to property, rule of possession by birth, allocation of parental property and joint family property etc. deserve not to be left in the hands of the executive authority of the district magistrate, unless we live in a police state and are proud of it in upholding the hateful principle that anyone can be thrown out at anytime from anywhere.

Appearing for the Union government, Satya Pal Jain, additional solicitor general of India, submitted that judicial powers ought not be left, in principle, in the hands of district magistrates. Jain submitted that executive officers can be amenable to personal, political, and social pressure.

However, defending the powers of district magistrates, Punjab advocate general Atul Nanda submitted that the urgent need of the senior citizen for peace and the protection of life and property cannot be postponed to a long-drawn litigation in a regular court.

Haryana AG Baldev Raj Mahajan defended the rules contending that preference has to be given to senior citizens under the the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act and it provides a short-cut remedy.

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