Observing that there would be many senior citizens neglected by their children and in need of immediate redressal, the Bombay High Court pulled up Maharashtra Government and sought to know when the Tribunal under Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, which is closed due to pandemic situation, will resume its functioning through physical or online hearing modes.
The Court observed that various authorities have now resumed functioning physically or through video conferencing long ago, and there was no reason for this Tribunal to continue to be closed.
A division bench of Justice Nitin M Jamdar and Justice Milind N Jadhav made the observations while hearing a plea by a former Uttar Pradesh minister, presently residing in Mumbai seeking directions to his son to remove himself, his family and belongings from the his father’s (petitioner) flat.
Advocate Aloukik Pai for the petitioner said that he was prompted to move to the High Court, because the Tribunal for senior citizens was closed due to Covid-19 pandemic since March.
However, advocate Akhilesh Dubey for the respondent opposed the plea and said that it was not maintainable before the Tribunal for senior citizens. He contended that the petitioner was a member of legislative assembly and a cabinet minister and there was no ground that he was unable to maintain himself. The Court noted that both the parties have roped the wife of petitioner into dispute and were making various allegations and counter allegations.
After hearing submissions, the bench said that it did not wish to adjudicate the issue whether the former leader can seek relief before the Tribunal.
“Assuming he can, merely because the Tribunal is temporarily closed, the writ jurisdiction cannot be exercised to issue directions to the private parties and adjudicate the disputed questions of facts. Neither of the party is living in penury, and what is raised before us is a purely domestic dispute,” the Court said.
However, the bench took a note of non-functioning of the Tribunals and observed, “The Act of 2007 is a beneficial legislation, is enacted for providing succour to the senior citizens who may suffer because of the neglect by their children. There would be many such senior citizens who would be in the need of immediate redressal. Various authorities have resumed functioning physically or through video conferencing long ago, there is no reason for this Tribunal to continue to be closed.”
In light of this, the Court directed the state government to explain as to when the Tribunal would resume its functioning physically or through videoconferencing proceedings. Seeking response from the concerned department of the state government, the Court posted further hearing on October 15.
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