Senior Citizens Cannot Seek Cancellation Of Property Transfer: Madras HC

New Delhi: The property transferred by the elderly cannot be taken back under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, if the transfer documents do not contain the clause imposing the condition that the recipient(s) should look after the giver, the Madras High Court has ruled.

There are two essential pre-conditions for seeking a declaration of the property transfer as null and void under Section 23 of the Act. The first condition is that the transfer document should have been executed after the Act came into force. The second one is that it should create an obligation to maintain the transferor, Justice R Subranamian pointed out.

If any of the two conditions has not been satisfied, then the Revenue Divisional Officers (RDOs) heading the Maintenance Tribunals cannot entertain pleas for declaring the documents as void, the judge said while dismissing a writ petition from S Selvaraj Simpson, recently.

The petition prayed for a direction to the RDO in Ambattur to take cognizance of his complaint against his son, who left him in the lurch.

The judge, however, said that the petitioner can launch appropriate proceedings seeking maintenance from his son and also seek cancellation of the property transfer document before a jurisdictional civil court subject to availability of such a remedy.

The judge pointed out that Section 23 of the Act clearly stated that any senior citizen who had transferred his/her property by way of gift or otherwise, after the commencement of the statute, could seek cancellation on the ground of failure to maintain him/her only if the transfer had been made on condition that he/she should be maintained by the transferee.

If the Maintenance Tribunal constituted under the statute was satisfied with the charge of failure to maintain, then such a transfer should be deemed to have been made by fraud or coercion or under undue influence and it could be declared as void either at the instance of the senior citizen or others, if the latter was incapable of enforcing his/her rights, the judge added. 

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