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Inmates Of Old Age Home Are Licensees ; Have No Legal Right To Protect Their Possession Without Complying With Corresponding Obligations: Supreme Court

Ashok KM
10 May 2022 11:08 AM GMT
Inmates Of Old Age Home Are Licensees ;  Have No Legal Right To Protect Their Possession Without Complying With Corresponding Obligations: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that the inmates of a old age home are licensees and have a legal right to stay in the room of the old age home only so long as they comply with the terms and conditions of such license."The inmates in the old age home are licensees and are expected to maintain a minimum level of discipline and good behaviour and not to cause disturbance to the fellow inmates who...

The Supreme Court observed that the inmates of a old age home are licensees and have a legal right to stay in the room of the old age home only so long as they comply with the terms and conditions of such license.

"The inmates in the old age home are licensees and are expected to maintain a minimum level of discipline and good behaviour and not to cause disturbance to the fellow inmates who are also senior citizens.", the bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian observed while setting aside the order of interim injunction passed against an old age home Samarpan Varishtha Jan Parisar.

After their membership in the old age home was cancelled, the plaintiffs filed a suit for injunction before the Civil Court against the old age home. The Trial Court directed that the plaintiffs should not be dispossessed during the pendency of the suit. This order was upheld by the Allahabad High Court.

In appeal before the Apex Court, the issue raised was regarding the status of the inmates in the old age home, are they licensee and/or they have a right to stay in the old age home for the lifetime as a matter of right?

The court noted that the law recognizes three types of possession. One as that of an owner, including co-owners; second as a tenant, when a right is created in the property; and thirdly permissive possession, the possession which otherwise would be illegal or that of as a trespasser.

Their possession is not a legal possession but only a permissive possession

The court noted that the possession of the plaintiffs in a room of an old age home is that of a licensee permitted to enjoy the possession, but without creating any interest in the property.

"On the legal issue, respondent Nos. 1 and 2, as licensees have a legal right to stay in the room of the old age home only so long as they comply with the terms and conditions of such license. Since respondent Nos. 1 and 2 had no legal right to protect their possession without complying with the corresponding obligations, as their possession is not a legal possession but only a permissive possession, they cannot seek any injunction to restrain the management of the old age home not to dispossess them."

Abandonment of parents by their children is now a hard fact of life

The court added that the abandonment of parents by their children is now a hard fact of life. The court observed:

It is an unfortunate situation when the parents cannot be taken care of by the children, but the fact remains that abandonment of parents by their children is now a hard fact of life. Parents do find it difficult to reconcile the situation that at that age they have to stay in old age home. Therefore, one can understand the mental trauma which the parents face in the evening of their life.

 inmates in the old age home are licensees and are expected to maintain a minimum level of discipline

The court observed that the agony suffered by a parent cannot be a cause of disturbance to the other inmates or to the organizers who have resolved to take care and run the old age home.

The inmates in the old age home are licensees and are expected to maintain a minimum level of discipline and good behaviour and not to cause disturbance to the fellow inmates who are also senior citizens. Therefore, if one parent is the cause of disruption of peace of other  inmates in the old age home, the administration of the old age home is at liberty to terminate the license and ask the inmate to vacate the room allotted to them. Even if the organizers of the old age home are not able to meet the expectation or requirements of the plaintiffs, that would not confer a cause to the plaintiffs to disturb the other inmates. As a licensee, the plaintiffs have no right to stay in the accommodation allotted which is purely an approach to a human problem faced by the people in old age.  

The court therefore held that the plaintiffs cannot seek an injunction to stay in the old age home unless they allow other inmates, a peaceful co-existence. While setting aside the injunction order, the court also directed the appellant to arrange an alternative old age home for the respondents- plaintiffs as one offered by the Social Welfare Department.

Case details

Samarpan Varishtha Jan Parisar vs Rajendra Prasad Agarwal | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 460 | CA 3520 OF 2022 | 6 May 2022

Coram: Justices Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian

Headnotes

Indian Easements Act, 1882 ; Section 52 - Licence - The inmates in the old age home are licensees and are expected to maintain a minimum level of discipline and good behaviour and not to cause disturbance to the fellow inmates who are also senior citizen - They have a legal right to stay in the room of the old age home only so long as they comply with the terms and conditions of such license - As a licensee, the plaintiffs have no right to stay in the accommodation allotted which is purely an approach to a human problem faced by the people in old age. (Para 23-26)

Possession - Three types of possession - One as that of an owner, including co-owners; second as a tenant, when a right is created in the property; and thirdly permissive possession, the possession which otherwise would be illegal or that of as a trespasser. (Para 12)

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