Justice Shanti Sarup Dewan vs Union Territory Chandigarh

Punjab-Haryana High Court




Justice Shanti Sarup Dewan (retired) and another …….Petitioners
Union Territory, Chandigarh and others …….Respondents


Present: Mr.Puneet Bali, Senior Advocate with Ms.Priyanka, Advocate for the petitioners.


The petitioners are an aged couple residing in House No.642, Sector 11-B, Chandigarh. Such residential property is claimed to be self-acquired at the hands of petitioner No.1. The petitioners have two daughters and a son. Both daughters are married and staying separately at their matrimonial homes. It has been pleaded that on account of nurturing a desire that the son of the petitioners leads an independent life, plot No.694, Sector 6, Panchkula was purchased by petitioner No.1 and thereafter transferred in the name of the son in the year 1990. It is further stated that the son had sold the plot in the year 1991 and from such sale proceeds has purchased plot No.1016, Sector 2, Panchkula in his name and has also raised construction thereupon. However, the son, namely, Suvir Dewan along with his wife and daughter continues to live with the petitioners in the house in Sector 11, Chandigarh.

2. The instant writ petition has been filed invoking the extra-ordinary writ jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for safe-guarding the life and liberty of the petitioners as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Assertion raised in the petition is that the petitioners have been traumatized and their lives have been made a “living hell” by their son (arrayed as party-respondent No.7). Accordingly, issuance of a writ in the nature of mandamus and directions to the following effect have been prayed for: i) Directions to be issued to respondents No.3, 5 and 6 to ensure the shifting out of their son, respondent No.7 from House No.642, Sector 11-B, Chandigarh.

ii) To provide adequate police protection to the petitioners on account of the threats given to them by respondent No.7.

iii) Issuance of directions for creation of a ‘Special Cell’ to deal with the complaints of senior citizens and parents who have been threatened/traumatized by their own children.

3. Learned Senior Counsel appearing for the petitioners would advert to the averments made in para 9 of the petition to submit that these are just a few instances which would reflect upon the abusive and intemperate behaviour of respondent No.7 towards the petitioners. Learned counsel would argue that the expression “life” in Article 21 of Constitution of India does not connote mere physical or animal existence but such right to life includes right to live with human dignity. Submissions have been addressed as regards the scope and powers of judicial review conferred on the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and it has been contended that the right conferred by Article 226 can be exercised not only for the enforcement of fundamental rights but “for any other purpose” as well. Reliance in support of such submissions has been placed upon State of West Bengal and others v. Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, West Bengal and others, (2010) 3 Supreme Court Cases, 571 and M.Nagaraj and others v. Union of India and others, (2006) 8 Supreme Court Cases 212.

4. Learned counsel has also referred to a judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Nilabati Behera (Smt.) alias Lalita Behera through the Supreme Court, Legal Aid Committee v. State of Orissa and others, (1993) 2 Supreme Court Cases 746, wherein while examining the issue as regards grant of relief to the heirs of a victim of custodial death for the infraction and invasion of rights guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, the Hon’ble Apex Court had held that it would not be necessary to always relegate such a victim to the ordinary remedy of a civil suit to claim damages and it would be open for the Courts to evolve “new tools” to give relief by moulding the same according to the situation with a view to preserve and protect the Rule of Law.

5. Having heard learned counsel for the petitioners at length, I am of the considered view that the issue as regards eviction of respondent No.7 from the premises in question and the petitioners having exclusive possession of the same cannot be gone into by this Court in exercise of its writ jurisdiction. Such issue would necessarily entail the determination of the nature of the property, as to whether the same is self-acquired or ancestral, determination of rights inter se the petitioners and respondent No.7 in respect thereof etc. Such questions would require formulation of triable issues which would be best left for adjudication at the hands of the Civil Courts. Accordingly, the prayer of the petitioners in this regard is declined. However, it is clarified that nothing shall preclude the petitioners from availing of their alternate and efficacious remedy strictly in accordance with law.

6. An attempt has been made to enlarge the scope of the present writ petition in terms of seeking directions to be issued to respondents No.1 to 6 to create a “Special Cell” to deal with the complaints of senior citizens and parents. Suffice it to notice that a legislation called The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 is already in place. This is a comprehensive enactment covering the issues relating to maintenance of parents/senior citizens, establishment of old age homes, providing for medical care of senior citizens and protection of life and property of senior citizens. The provisions contained in the Act are exhaustive and strict adherence to the same would go a long way to achieve the very object for which it was enacted i.e. to provide for the maintenance and welfare of parents and senior citizens guaranteed and recognized under the Constitution and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. No further directions in such regard are called for.

7. Furthermore, this petition voices an apprehension to the life and liberty of the petitioners at the hands of respondent No.7. Even though the pleadings on record may be construed as insufficient to wholly substantiate such assertion, yet this Court cannot proceed oblivious of the fact that petitioner No.1 is none other than a former Chief Justice of this Court and as such, is a man of exalted stature and status. Petitioner No.2 is his wife. It would be safe to presume that it is only under compelling circumstances that the petitioners were constrained to approach this Court seeking directions for grant of appropriate police protection.

8. The present writ petition is disposed of with a direction to respondent No.3 i.e. Senior Superintendent of Police, U.T., Chandigarh or any other Officer deputed in this regard to visit the petitioners at their residence i.e. House No.642, Sector 11-B, Chandigarh within 24 hours from the communication of this order, interact with them and take stock of the situation. Liberty is granted to respondent No.3 to thereafter take all such necessary steps as deemed fit so as to ensure the protection of the life and liberty of the petitioners.

9. Registry is directed to supply a copy of this order to respondent No.3 forthwith through Special Messenger.

10. Writ petition disposed of accordingly.


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