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The Punjab and Haryana High Court (High Court) reiterates that the Maintenance proceedings under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act, 2007 (Act) render infructuous/otiose if the aggrieved senior citizen expires.

PHHC on Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizen Act, 2007

Credits: Deependra Garcha/Google photos

The Letters Patent Appeal (LPA) was filed by one of the son (original Respondent, OR) of the senior citizen (original petitioner, OP) against the order of Single Judge upholding Maintenance Tribunal’s decision in favour of the OP. The LPA was heard by the bench of Hon’ble Ms. Justice Jaishree Thakur, Hon’ble Mrs. Justice Sukhvinder Kaur.

The grounds of challenge of the OR in the LPA was that –

  • the Single Judge did not at all consider the points raised by the appellants in the said writ petition.
  • the provision of Section 23 of the Act are attracted when there is an order of maintenance and the person concerned refuses or fails to provide the maintenance, amenities, etc as envisaged and the straightway petition under Section 23 of the Act cannot be filed.
  • the Punjab Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Rules, 2012 (Rules, 2012) provides procedure for dealing with the application filed before the Tribunal and as per Rule 15 if there is no settlement made before the Conciliation Officer then the Tribunal shall give opportunity to both the parties to lead the evidence in favour of their respective claims and shall after summary inquiry as provided in Sub Section (1) of Section 8 pass such order as it may deem fit but in the present case Tribunal has given total go bye to the procedure under the Rules and the Act.

The OP in their reply had argued that the Tribunal and the Single Judge was right in passing their orders as there has been admission on part of the OR that they were ready to pay maintenance to OP and hence there was no need for the Tribunal to call for more proof and evidence.

Although the division judge bench recorded the submissions of both the parities but took into consideration the fact that the legal representatives of the OP were allowed to implead after the death of OP. While taking this point in consideration the court reiterated its decision in Rattan Kumar and another Vs. State of Punjab and others; CWP/317/2020 and Davinder Singh Vs. Appellate Tribunal-cum-District Magistrate, Sangrur and others; CWP/6669/2022 observed that when the senior citizen at whose instance, the Maintenance/Appellate Tribunal had passed the impugned orders expired, then the proceedings are rendered infructuous/otiose, as senior citizen’s right to seek benefit under the special statute abates on his/her death. The protection qua life and property accorded to a senior citizen is co-terminus with his/her life and the parties/ legal heirs were left to seek their civil remedy as may otherwise be available under law, by holding that they were not entitled to seek any benefit under the provisions of the Act.

The Division bench relying on the above law point dismissed Single Judge’s order.

Gurdeep Singh & Ors vs Sub Divisional Magistrate and others; LPA/2402/2017 (O&M) on 21 July, 2023

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