Parents can reclaim property entrusted to their children if they neglect Care obligations: HC

JNS: The Madras High Court ruled in a groundbreaking legal decision regarding property settlements between parents and their children that if children fail to provide a dignified life for the senior citizen, the parents have the right to reclaim the property they had granted to them even if there was no express condition to maintain the senior citizen in the transfer agreement.

Justice SM Subramaniam of the Madras High Court, in delivering this crucial verdict, (on September 8), stated that parents possess the authority to unilaterally revoke any agreement letter that solely mentions the property’s transfer as an act of love and affection. The judgment underscores that when the settlement explicitly designates the property transfer as an act of parental love and affection, parents retain the right to unilaterally cancel the arrangement if their children neglect their caregiving duties.

Justice SM Subramaniam further articulated that when the conduct of individuals towards senior citizens reflects indifference and the safety and dignity of parents are compromised, the parents have the legal prerogative to repossess their property.

This significant legal precedent was established in a case involving the annulment of a property settlement deed executed by Shakira Begum from Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu, in favour of her son, Mohammed Dayan. Shakira Begum had filed a complaint with the sub-registrar, alleging that she had issued the settlement letter to her son under the premise that he would provide proper maintenance, a promise he had failed to uphold.

The dispute between the mother and son subsequently found its way to the judiciary, culminating in a favourable judgment from the Madras High Court in favour of Shakira Begum. This ruling serves as a vital reminder of the importance of honouring commitments to the elderly and upholding their rights to care, dignity, and property protection.

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