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Maintenance Tribunal is not an Eviction Tribunal: Punjab & Haryana HC Strikes Down Punjab Action Plan Clauses [Read Judgment]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
27 Jan 2020 1:30 PM GMT
Maintenance Tribunal is not an Eviction Tribunal: Punjab & Haryana HC Strikes Down Punjab Action Plan Clauses [Read Judgment]

"Life is awfully complex and errant laws can often compound it."

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The Punjab and Haryana High Court has struck down Clauses 1 to 3 of The Punjab Action Plan, 2014, which provided summary eviction Procedure for eviction from property/residential building of Senior Citizens/ parents, holding that the same are ultra vires the provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 and The Punjab Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Rules, 2012.

Justice Rajiv Narain Raina observed that the Maintenance Tribunal is not an Eviction Tribunal and that the MWPSC Act does not provide for relief of eviction simpliciter, but at best as a consequential relief under Section 23 of the Act for void transfers.

Clause 1 of the Action Plan describes the procedure for eviction from property/residential building of Senior Citizens/ parent. Clause 2 empowers the District Magistrate to pass Eviction Order from property/residential building of Senior Citizens/Parents and Clause 3 provides the procedure to enforce such Orders. The judge observed:

Life is awfully complex and errant laws can often compound it. Each family is faced with its own peculiar situation that cannot be typified in one mould of the law for every family and their elders in the Action Plan to persuade this court to subscribe to the power of eviction in the District Magistrate on a transitory posting in the District. On the other hand the judicial courts are static and available on every working day for the litigating public. A family's own special needs, circumstances and expectations of each other are variables and their station in life, their social standing, their financial position can be vastly different that they cannot be measured on the same scale and with one brush of a heartless Government order in the Action Plan which Parliament did not devise. Parliament ordained a "comprehensive action plan" in section 22 (2) but the Plans are far from being comprehensive in nature. The Action Plan cannot cover all cases based on title alone when rights of spes successionis germinate with conception as per the Hindu law [which are chances of succession] and mature on birth. India has to contend with unique personal laws of its many people of different religions and faiths. Therefore, each case has to be decided on its own facts and circumstances on the basis of evidence.

While striking down the main clauses of the Action Plan, the Court observed that the Action Plan does not lay down any guidelines to control, guide or supervise such extreme harsh and tyrannical quasi judicial powers by the District Magistrate. It said:

"The Action Plan in eviction is unfair, arbitrary, unreasonable and oppressive as against family member [and not a foreigner to the family unit or rank outsider] and is excessive and therefore unconstitutional. It cannot be used as a tool for eviction and in abuse of the process of the law."

It appears not to have been the intention of Parliament to create a law on title based eviction under the Act, let alone a summary procedure for eviction and, on the other hand operates where senior citizens have been taken advantage of or exploited by people or family to grab their property with ulterior motives and leave them in a lurch in their old age with no succour and redemption available."

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