The Rights Under the Domestic Violence Act and the Senior Citizens Act Have To Be Balanced: Delhi High Court

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Excerpt

The appellants filed the present Letters Patent Appeal (LPA) under Clause 10 of the letters patent and sought for setting aside the impugned judgment and order dated passed by the learned Single Judge of the Delhi High Court. The Court, however, didn’t find any reason to interfere with the impugned order and rejected the appeal.

Background

In this case, respondent No.1 filed a writ petition seeking vacation of the subject premises. He had filed an eviction petition against his son (Respondent No.6 in the present appeal) under “The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.” The Learned District Magistrate (South) rejected the application. Aggrieved by this order, he filed an appeal with the Appellate Court. The learned Appellate Court allowed the appeal and directed respondent No.6 to vacate the premises within a period of 15 days from the date of receipt of the order. Respondent No. 6 challenged the said order by filing a writ petition with the Delhi High Court. The learned Single Judge of the High Court granted a period of six months to him to hand over, vacant and peaceful possession of the subject premises. Further, he was required to file an affidavit/undertaking before the writ court. Despite having given the undertaking and having availed the period of 6 months, respondent No.6 approached the Hon’ble Supreme Court challenging the order passed by the Delhi Court. The Hon’ble Supreme Court dismissed the SLP but modified the order of Delhi High Court by granting respondent No.6, time up to 30.04.2019 subject to furnishing a fresh undertaking. Respondent No.6 gave another undertaking in the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Thereafter he made another application for extension of time to vacate the subject premises which was rejected by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. 

Further, the appellant No.2 and 3 had filed a suit for partition before this Court seeking partition of entire property consisting of Ground Floor, First Floor, Second Floor, Third Floor, and Top Floor. They also filed an application seeking an ad interim ex-parte injunction restraining respondent No.1 from compelling them to vacate the portion of the suit property in which they were residing. The learned Single Judge, by an order, gave a prima facie view that the appellant No.2 and 3 were set up by respondent No.6 to get over the orders passed by this Court as well as the orders passed Hon’ble Supreme Court.  He further opined that the appellant 2 and 3 are acting for respondent No.6, Sunil Pawar i.e., their father. He, therefore, rejected the relief sought by appellants 2 and 3. 

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The learned single judge, vide the impugned order directed the appellant 1, 2, and 3 to vacate the suit premises on or before 25.04.2021. He further directed respondent no.6 to pay a sum of Rs. 15,000/- per month to them so as to enable them to find an alternate premise. Aggrieved by the impugned order, the appellants filed the present Letters Patent Appeal (LPA) under Clause 10 of the letters patent and sought to set aside the impugned judgment and order.

Arguments Before the Court

The petitioners argued that the learned Single Judge failed to consider that the appellants were never a party to the proceeding initiated by respondent No.1 and have not been given any hearing. They further argued that all the orders of eviction were passed behind their back, without affording them any hearing and in fact, and that it was respondent No.6 who had colluded with respondent No.1 so that appellants can be evicted from the subject premises. They also contended that they have a statutory right to reside at the subject premises under “The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005”. The appellants further stated that all the undertakings filed by respondent No.6 were filed by him in his individual capacity and not for and on behalf of the appellants and hence cannot bind them. They further stated that their right under “The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005” cannot be ignored by collusive proceedings filed by respondent No.1 and respondent No.6. 

Mr. Madhav Gupta, the learned counsel for the appellants, relied upon the law laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in S. Vanitha v Deputy Commissioner and Satish Chandra Ahuja v Sneha Ahuja to argue that statutory rights under “The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005” to live in the shared household cannot be taken away by the quick summary order under Senior Citizens Act and further that the statutory right under “The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005” to live in a shared household must be balanced with the right under Senior Citizens Act.

Court’s Observations

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The Court heard the learned counsel for the appellants and went through the paper book and the judgments cited by the learned counsel for the appellants. The Court also perused the background of the case. 

The Court observed that from 2017 till 30.04.2019, there were no instances of Domestic Violence between appellant No.1 and respondent No.6, and no proceedings were filed under “The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005” by appellant No.1. 

After the perusal of the facts of the case, the Court observed that the proceedings for eviction have been carrying on from 2017 and the appellants have taken the benefit of 2 extensions of 6 months i.e., one by the Hon’ble High Court and one by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. 

The Court was of the view that the complaint under “The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005” was merely an eyewash and was filed only to defeat the eviction order passed under the maintenance of the Senior Citizens Act. 8. The Court also considered the judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in S. Vanitha’s case and found that the facts in S. Vanitha’s case were totally different from the facts of the present case. The Court, therefore, said that S. Vanitha’s judgment was not applicable to the facts of the present case. The Court also went through the judgment of Satish Chandra Ahuja. 

Court’s Decision

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After considering the aforesaid two judgments, the Court opined that the rights under “The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005” and the rights under “The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007” have to be balanced. The Court found the proceeding filed by appellants under “The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005” to be clearly an eyewash to defeat the orders passed by this Hon’ble Court as well as the Hon’ble Supreme Court. 

The Court held that the appellants after having availed the benefits of two extensions of 6 months each, cannot now be permitted to resile and set up their independent rights under “The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005”. The court, therefore, did not find any merit in the present appeal and hence rejected it. The Court dismissed the present appeal along with pending applications, as being devoid of merit.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL JUDGEMENT. 


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