Elderly parents can take back a share in their property given to a son as a gift if he fails to look after them or harasses them, the Bombay high court has ruled.
Citing the special law for maintenance of senior citizens, Justices Ranjit More and Anuja Prabhudesai upheld a tribunal’s order that had cancelled a gift deed given by an elderly Andheri resident by which he had granted 50% share in his flat to his son.
“The gift deed was made at the request of the son and his wife. It is implied that the elderly father and his second wife would be looked after by them after transfer of 50% share in the flat,” said the judges. “Obviously, the son and his wife though ready and willing to look after the father were unwilling to do so in respect of the second wife. In the above circumstances, we do not find any error in the order (cancelling the gift deed), therefore, we are not inclined to entertain this petition,” said the HC and dismissed the son’s petition.
The 2007 law (see box) has provisions that protect parents and elderly persons who have signed away their property or assets to a person so that they would be taken care of, but are then left destitute. If a senior citizen has signed an agreement after 2007 to transfer his share in the property, for example through a gift deed, on the condition that his basic needs would be taken care of, but the person refuses to honour the agreement, then a maintenance tribunal is empowered to quash the agreement.
Dad gave half share to son to buy peace
The senior citizen’s first wife died in 2014. Last year, when he wanted to remarry, his son and daughter-inlaw requested that a share of the Andheri flat should be transferred to them. To buy peace in the family, he transferred 50% share in the flat to his son in May 2014. Subsequently, they started insulting the elderly man’s second wife. The father and his second wife were forced to leave the Andheri flat. The father then approached the maintenance tribunal, which cancelled the gift deed.
The son challenged the tribunal’s order, but the HC dismissed the petition.