The Supreme Court ruled that the transfer of property by a Senior Citizen can be set aside only if it was subjected to a condition of providing the Basic Amenities.
The appeal arises out of a petition filed by respondent under Section 23 of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.
Counsel appearing for the appellant urged that the High Court has not adverted to the facts of the case at all.
He pointed out that respondent’s son withdrew the appeals preferred by him against the decrees passed in the civil suits filed by respondent by which release deeds executed in his favour were held to be null and void.
He submitted that respondent’s son has joined hands with her and under his pressure that respondent filed the petition under Section 23.
He contended that there is no material placed on record before the Maintenance Tribunal and the High Court to even indicate that the execution of the release deed was vitiated by fraud or coercion or undue influence.
The division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Abhay S. Oka said that when a senior citizen parts with his or her property by executing a gift or a release or otherwise in favour of his or her near and dear ones, a condition of looking after the senior citizen is not necessarily attached to it.
“On the contrary, very often, such transfers are made out of love and affection without any expectation in return. Therefore, when it is alleged that the conditions mentioned in sub-section (1) of Section 23 are attached to a transfer, existence of such conditions must be established before the Tribunal” the court added.
The bench noted that the petition under Section 23 filed by respondent shows that it is not even pleaded that the release deed was executed subject to a condition that the transferees (the daughters of respondent) would provide the basic amenities and basic physical needs to respondent.
The court observed that the effecting transfer subject to a condition of providing the basic amenities and basic physical needs to the transferor – senior citizen is sine qua non for applicability of sub-section (1) of Section 23. In the case, as stated earlier, it is not even pleaded by respondent no.1 that the release deed was executed subject to such a condition.
The court set aside the order passed by the Maintenance Tribunal as well as the High Court.
Case title: Sudesh Chhikara v/s Ramti Devi & Anr.
Citation: Civil appeal no. 174 of 2021