Son cannot claim right to parents’ property when they are alive: Bombay HC [Read Order]

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A son cannot have a right, title or interest in the flats owned by his parents as long as they are live, the Bombay High Court held on Thursday [Sonia Fazal Khan & Ors v. Union of India & Ors].

The Court was hearing a petition filed by one Sonia Khan seeking to be declared as the legal guardian of all properties owned by her husband, who had been living in a vegetative state for a long time.

During the course of hearing, their son Asif Khan sought to intervene, claiming to be the de-facto guardian of his father for many years. He contended that though parents are alive, there are two flats which he described as “a shared household,” which gave him an enforceable legal right to either or both of these flats.

The Bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Madhav Jamdar found the submission to be ill-founded and illogical.

The Court reasoned that under the succession laws for any community, there was no provision for a son to claim right or title to a property of the parent as long as the parent is alive.

“In any conceptualization of succession law for any community or faith, Asif (son) can have no right, title or interest whatsoever in either of these flats — one in his father’s name and other in his mother’s name — so long as his parents are alive,” the order stated.

“The suggestion that Asif has a settled and enforceable share in either of the flats in the lifetimes of the real owners, his parents, is laughable. The fact that he is their son does not make either of their flats ‘a shared household’,” the Bench added.

The Bench also did not find any merit in Asif’s application or the annexures appended to it, to support his claim of being his father’s guardian. His application also claimed that his mother had an ‘alternative remedy’ and hence no writ lied before the Court. This too was rejected.

“Asif has no rights in his father’s flats. He has nothing to show that he has ever cared for his father. We reject his contention that his mother has an ‘alternate remedy’. That submission alone shows us Asif’s true nature, his utterly heartless and avaricious approach. His Interim Application is dismissed,” the Bench held.

Meanwhile, on the wife’s application on guardianship, the Court noted that there was no specific provision which dealt with the issue of guardianship of a disabled person. The Division Bench, however, decided to deal with the husband on the same footing as a minor who holds a share in immovable property.

This implied that the husband in the present case was under the care and supervision of the Court.

“…any disposal of his share in any immovable property must be for stated and bona fide purposes that are demonstrably in his interest. It is for this reason that we find ourselves unable to grant an open-ended permission in cases like this,” the order remarked.

The Bench permitted the wife to operate a bank account where she was joint holder. Further, upon specific query, the Bench was informed that the wife wanted to sell the properties and use the money towards treatment of her husband. In view of this, the Court asked her to begin the process of sale and negotiation of the property.

Before executing any sale deed or memorandum of understanding, the wife was asked to approach the Court with a separate application enlisting the details of the same.

Advocates Nikhil Wadikar and Ganesh Dhonde appeared for the wife.
Advocate Maneesh Trivedi briefed by LR & Associates appeared for the son.
Advocates Advait Sethna, Anusha P Amin and Tanay M Mandot appeared for the Central government.

Read order here

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