70-year-old widow tortured by daughter, Bombay High Court comes to rescue

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Bombay High Court has come to the rescue of a 70-year-old widow, who was being mentally and physically tortured by her daughter. The daughter allegedly kept the elderly woman under house arrest for months with a fractured shoulder and broken nerves without any support or proper medical care.

“If children cannot take care of their parents and allow them to live in peace, they at least ought not to make their life a living hell,” said the bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice Surendra Tavade while issuing a stern warning to the daughter.

The bench stopped short of evicting the daughter, a divorcee, and her son, from the petitioner woman’s flat at Mumbai’s Lokhandwala Complex in view of the Covid-19 lockdown. The bench, however, warned the daughter and her son that they will be evicted forthwith if either of them caused any harassment to the elderly woman or tried to stop any of her relatives contacting her or from entering the flat.

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The judges said that after talking to the petitioner, they had gathered an impression that the petitioner apprehended serious physical and mental harassment and consequently threat to her life at the hands of her daughter if she went to reside at her own flat with the daughter. “However, in view of the pandemic and the consequent problems that individuals are facing, we are today not passing an order directing the daughter to make alternate arrangements,” said the bench.

The elderly woman moved the High Court seeking eviction of her abusive daughter and her son after the tribunal constituted under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007 could not take up her plea for urgent reliefs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She said her abusive daughter had been in a wrong company all along. In 1998, she eloped with her boyfriend, a person having a criminal background. They spent two years in constant fights and in July 2000, he abandoned her and their toddler son, With an intervention of relatives, the daughter temporarily returned to her parents’ place at Lokhandwala but started living there forcibly.

She added that a few months after returning to the parents’ place the daughter started harassing the petitioner and her husband. Both of them had become helpless as the daughter had threatened to level false accusations of molestation against her father, she added.

The elderly woman’s petition stated that she was mentally and physically tortured by her daughter, especially after her husband died in January 2011, and her finances were taken over by her. She was forced to remain naked so as to compel her not to step out of the house and was served food only once a day.

On August 3, 2018, she got an opportunity to step out of the flat but was hit by an auto-rickshaw while crossing a road. She had to be hospitalised. Thereafter, the 70-year-old could not move and was almost bedridden for a long time. During that time, her daughter did not allow any of her relatives to enter the flat and also broke the woman’s cell phone to ensure that she could not contact anybody else.

In February 2020, her other daughter came from the US and took her to Bombay Hospital where a series of tests revealed that she had a shoulder fracture and several of her nerves around the neck had been severely damaged.

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