The Kerala HC Reunites Old Couple rose in favor of an 80-year-old woman who sought to be reunited with her dementia-afflicted husband after their son took him away against her wishes to look after him at his home, citing he can’t take care of both his parents.
Her story resembled the plot from the 2003 Bollywood movie ‘Baghban’, where the children refused to take care of both parents due to financial considerations. According to media reports, the octogenarian approached the court, arguing that he was the ‘happiest when he is in her company at the family house’ and that he was living the life of a ‘destitute’ at their son’s home.
While passing the verdict, the single bench of Justice Devan Ramachandran observed that her right to live with her husband is ‘inviolable and absolute’, and the son has no right to keep them away from each other. The high court has ordered their immediate reunion.
The Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, stipulates that children must take care of their parents. In this case, the son took his father away from her to take care of him despite her old age, causing immense emotional distress. The issue came to the high court after the son challenged the Maintenance Appellate Tribunal’s order in her favor.
He pleaded with the court that his mother cannot take care of his father because of their age and that he is ready to take care of both at his home if she agrees. However, his mother petitioned to enforce the Tribunal’s order and let her husband live with her in the family house.
The mother argued that her husband was “detained” by her son. The 80-year-old has reportedly declined to live at her son’s house because of her differences with her son.
The court considered the reports of the social justice officer in the matter, which affirmed that the 92-year-old husband was happy in his wife’s company, and the wife also wished to live in her husband’s company in her last days. The court directed the caretaker, whom the son appointed for his father, to take him to the family house. The court stated that the son could visit his father and stay with him in the family house if his mother agreed to it.