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Delhi High Court directed Delhi Government to consider framing of appropriate rules with regard to the unclaimed goods once the eviction orders passed under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.

A single judge bench headed by Justice Navin Chawla passed the order while hearing a writ filed by elderly women Smt Gomti Devi who had secured the eviction order from the office of the District Magistrate (DM) against her daughter-in-law. But after the eviction, her daughter-in-law didn’t take any of her belongings from the house.

As per the eviction order the daughter-in-law had been directed to hand over the vacant physical possession of the house situated at Shastri Nagar, Delhi. Court had also directed, “The SHO P.S. Sarai Rohilla and SDM Kotwali shall ensure compliance of the above said order and also ensure that life and property of the applicant, Smt. Gomti Devi, who is a senior citizen, is secured and that no harassment is caused to her in any way whatsoever.”

Delhi High Court noted, “In compliance with the said direction, the daughter-in-law was evicted from the property by the SHO, Police Station Sarai Rohilla and the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Kotwalia. However, the articles belonging to her were not claimed by her and at own cost of the Smt. Gomti Devi and on instructions of the SHO as also the bailiff, the said articles were sought to be delivered to the mother of the daughter-in-law.  As she also refused to take delivery of those articles, the same have been put in a vehicle which is parked near the residence of Smt Gomti Devi, burdening her with additional costs.”

After which Smt Gomti Devi filed an application before the District Magistrate praying for direction to the SHO, Police Station Sarai Rohilla, to take decision as to the said articles belonging to the daughter-in-law, however, no order was passed. A similar request was also made to the DCP, District (North-West). While the District Magistrate has not passed any order on the application of Smt Gomti Devi, the DCP has stated that the application be transferred to the District Magistrate Office (Central).

While no action was taken Smt Gomti Devi moved the Delhi High Court seeking directions to Delhi Government to formulate a policy with respect to unclaimed goods recovered from the premises of senior citizens at the time of taking possession of the premises. Also Learned Counsel for Smt Gomti Devi submits that in the absence of any rules regarding the custody of articles, the Authorities are not passing any order regarding the same, consequently, burdening her with further costs.

In my view, the above situation would clearly defeat the purpose for which the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 has been enacted. Once the order of eviction has been passed on an application filed by a senior citizen, the senior citizen cannot thereafter be burdened with cost of securing the articles that were physically removed in execution of such an order”, said Justice Navin Chawla.

The respondent no.1 (Delhi Government) should therefore, consider framing appropriate rules in this regard. At the same time and looking into the grievance and plight of the petitioner (Smt Gomti Devi), the goods of the respondent no.6 (Daughter-in-law) would be allowed to be handed over by the petitioner to the SHO, Police Station, Sarai Rohilla, that is respondent no.5, who may, thereafter, deal with the same in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 or obtain necessary directions from the District Magistrate (Central).  It is made clear that this order has been passed due to peculiar circumstances of the present case as the respondent no.6 has refused to receive the said articles even after the filing of the present petition. The same shall not be considered as a precedent,” he further added.

Court said, “A copy of this order be also sent to the Secretary, Social Welfare Department, Government of NCT of Delhi, for taking necessary action.”

-India Legal Bureau 

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