The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday directed the State government to create awareness of protection available to senior citizens in terms of their life and property under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007.
A division bench of Justices S. Vimala and T. Krishnavalli observed that for senior citizens, who had transferred their property by way of gift with the condition that the transferee should provide basic amenities, such a transfer could be deemed to be obtained through fraud, coercion or undue influence if the transferee failed to fulfil the condition. The Maintenance Tribunal established to provide effective and speedy relief to elderly persons could declare such a transfer as void, the court said.
The court further observed that before the commencement of the Act a parent could only approach the court for maintenance from the children. But now, under the provision of the Act, a senior citizen could reclaim his property from the transferee. This provision should reach the people, the court said.
Under Section 21 of the Act, the State government should give wide publicity to the provision through public media at regular intervals. Periodic sensitisation and awareness should be created by the State and the Central governments and a periodical review done, said the court.
The court was hearing a criminal appeal petition seeking to set aside an order of the Principal District and Sessions Judge, Theni, who had sentenced an accused to life and two others to three years of rigorous imprisonment in a murder case. The victim, an estate owner, was killed by Renganathan, Alangammal and Amritharaj. The estate owner, who was estranged from his wife, wrote the will in favour of Renganathan, that he would enjoy the property after the owner’s death.
However, in a change of mind, the owner wanted to write the will in favour of his son. Knowing the intention, Renganathan, along with his wife and cousin, killed the estate owner.
The court opined that the incident would not have happened had the owner knew that the will would come into effect only after his death. The court upheld the life sentence given to Renganathan by the lower court but set aside the sentence of the other two accused for lack of clear evidence.