Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has upheld a Senior Citizens Maintenance Tribunal (SCMT)’s order revoking two gift deeds executed by a senior woman in her son’s name, for failing to care for her, and directed him and his wife to vacate the property.
Justice Sandeep V. Marne also said that denial of access to one’s own house amounted to ‘denial of basic amenities’, and the son had failed to perform his duties to provide basic amenities to his aged mother.
The woman, Urvashi Bharat Khater lost her husband Bharat Khater to cancer in December 2016, their elder son and bachelor Avinash B. Khater had separated from the family after a mutual settlement in January 2015.
In May 2017, Urvashi Khater executed two Gift Deeds — her share in properties in Bharat Bhavan and a flat in Vienna Building — in the name of her younger son, Ashwin B. Khater.
The problems started soon afterwards with a series of developments compelling the mother to move the SCMT, seeking revocation of the two Gift Deeds, access to her Juhu bungalow, ‘Avi-n-Ash’, monthly maintenance of Rs two lakh and a medical expense of Rs ten lakh.
In April 2022, partly allowing the plea, SCMT declared the two Gift Deeds as null and void, ordered the son to permit access to the mother at their Juhu bungalow, to refrain from causing any mental or physical agony to her, and even permitted the mother to file a police complaint.
Ashwin B. Khater challenged the SCMT order in the Bombay High Court which upheld the tribunal’s verdict.
Justice Marne also observed that the son and his wife are not concerned about the access granted to the aged mother to their home but are “aggrieved” by the cancellation of the two Gift Deeds of May 2017, plus other orders on not causing her any kind of harassment and liberty to lodge a police complaint.
Dismissing the petition filed by Ashwin Khater and his wife, the court also said that the Gift Deeds were executed by Urvashi Khater out of natural love and affection towards her son, given the sequences of events, that love and affection ceased to exist, her son perhaps failed to provide for his mother’s needs, and since “it was never the son’s property… he had no right to seek Gift thereof”.
Advocate Mayur Khandeparkar and his team Shaheda Madraswala and Shikha Dharia instructed by Vashi & Vashi represented the son, while the mother’s case was argued by Simil Purohit instructed by Manoj Pandit.
The judge added that “this may not be an irreversible situation in every case, mother’s love and affection can be won back”, but presently the extreme measure of the restoration of the gifted properties to the mother was warranted considering the facts and circumstances.