Published on: 18 September 2023 at 18:40 IST
The Allahabad High Court has reinforced the rights of senior citizens under the U.P. Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act (Act, 2007).
The court held that once an application has been delegated by the appropriate authority under Section 22(1) of the Act and Rule 22(2)(i) of the corresponding Rules, it cannot be dismissed on grounds of non-maintainability by a subordinate officer.
The case revolved around an application filed by a senior citizen seeking eviction orders against certain respondents.
The District Magistrate (DM) had delegated this responsibility to a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM). However, the SDM dismissed the application, citing non-maintainability as the basis for dismissal.
The Allahabad High Court, comprising Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh and Justice Rajendra Kumar-IV, ruled that under Section 22(1) of the Act, the DM is empowered to protect the property of senior citizens and can delegate this responsibility to subordinates.
Once such delegation is complete, the SDM cannot declare the application non-maintainable. Any confusion regarding the delegation of power should be resolved through consultation between the DM and the SDM.
The court emphasized that the Act of 2007 is a welfare legislation designed to provide senior citizens with a swift and concise solution to protect their property and well-being. Rejecting an application on the grounds of non-maintainability is inappropriate and runs contrary to the spirit of the law.
The court further outlined procedures for ensuring efficient communication and resolution of such cases. If an application is filed before the SDM and they are unsure of their authority to handle it, they should verify the facts with the DM’s office and proceed accordingly. If the SDM determines that they lack the authority due to a lack of delegation, they should inform the applicant and send the matter to the DM.
Additionally, the court recommended keeping records of applicants’ contact information, including phone numbers, social media platforms, and email addresses, to streamline communication and reduce inconvenience for senior citizens.
In conclusion, the Allahabad High Court directed the SDM to recall the impugned order and issue a new order based on the merits of the case.