Above: A representative image of a father and son
New York judge orders that if the parents want him out of the house, the son has to vacate, quite like a Delhi High Court’s 2016 judgment
Times they are a changing, probably going back to satyayug, so to say. Those were the times when if the son attained the age of manhood – that was way below the legal 18 of these days – they were supposed to leave the house and go out into the world, gather knowledge. A kshatriya’s son would be packed off to a guru’s ashram to learn the art of war and statesmanship.
Then the times changed and parents, especially in India, started wanting their wards to be more homebound, share the burden of business and home chores with their parents and finally fall in line with the family’s way of the world.
Today, things probably are changing back to older times, especially in nuclear families and where parents aren’t wanting their businesses to fall into a lineage. Many of them want their adult sons out of the house as soon as they get a job. There have been instances in India where parents have moved court to push their sons out. It has now happened in an orthodox US family as well.
A New York judge recently ordered 30-year-old Michael Rotondo to move out his parents’ house. The parents have tried sweet-talking their son to take up a job and assume responsibility of his life, but Michael just wouldn’t budge from his parents’ house, neither would he take up a job nor start a business.
His parents started sending him notices, pretty official, saying things like ‘here’s $1,100, get a house, remove your ramshackle car from our premises and set yourself up.’ He wouldn’t even reply. Many more such ‘notices’ and eviction notices later the parents, Mark and Christina Rotondo, went to court.
The case is about “Failure to Launch.”
Michael’s argument was that while he knew fully well that his parents want him out of their split-level ranch, he said that as a family member he is entitled to six more months to arrange all this.
Judge Donald Greenwood, as per reports, rejected the suggestion, saying it was outrageous.
The news has created a stir in the US, but such a judgment has happened in India already.
In November 2016 a judge of the Delhi High Court had declared that a son has no legal right to live in the self-acquired house of his parents. The judge had said that he can only stay there at their (the parents’) “mercy”.
That judgment, too, was path-breaking. The judge had said that just because his parents allowed him to live in their house does not mean they have to bear his “burden” throughout life.
The critical part of this judgement is that the son’s rights are irrespective of his marital status. He simply does not have any rights, period.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Pratibha Rani had said: “Where the house is self-acquired by the parents the son, whether married or unmarried, has no legal right to live in that house and he can live in that house only at the mercy of his parents up to the time the parents allow.”
The trial court, where the son had gone first, had also passed an order in favour of his parents. Thereafter, the son had moved the high court.
The more important part was that the son’s parents are both senior citizens and they told the court that the son and the daughter-in-law had made their “lives hell”. The parents had also complained to the police and, quite like in the US, had issued public notices in 2007 and 2012 debarring them from their self-acquired property.
—India Legal Bureau