The prevailing confusion over filing of appeals under Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, has prompted the Delhi High Court to clarify that in maintenance matters, an order passed by the first forum i.e. Additional District Magistrate/Sub Divisional Magistrate is appealable before the Appellate Tribunal presided over by the Deputy Commissioner (Rakhi Sharma vs State).
Similarly, for eviction matters, orders from the first forum i.e., Deputy Commissioner/District Magistrate are appealable before the Divisional Commissioner, the Court said.
The order was passed by a single-judge Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh.
The Court was dealing with a writ petition against an order of eviction passed by first forum against the petitioner under the Delhi Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Rules, 2009.
The State submitted that the impugned order was, in fact, appealable to the Divisional Commissioner under Rule 22 (3)(4) of the Rules and the petitioner should be asked to avail that remedy.
The High Court noticed that a “large number of writ petitions” are filed before it against orders passed under the Act, as also the Rules which could be due to some confusion as to which orders are appealable, to which forum and by whom.
“In order to properly appreciate the scheme of the Act and the Rules thereto, it is necessary to set out the provisions which are applicable separately qua maintenance and eviction proceedings, as amended on 19th December, 2016“ the Court said.
It then set out the scheme of the Act in detail adding that the Rules and Notifications under the Act are not readily available to the litigants and lawyers which could be one of the reasons for the confusion.
“The Act and the various Rules and Notifications thereto are not readily available to litigants, as also lawyers, in the form of a separate publication. This may be one of the causes for confusion in filing multiple writ petitions directly against the first order of the tribunal or, in the case of eviction, from the order of the Deputy Commissioner/DM,” the order said.
Considering that in most cases, the appellate forum and the period of limitation is not within the knowledge of litigants and sometimes even lawyers, the Court directed that appellate forum and the 60-day limitation period for filing of appeal shall be mentioned in all orders passed by the first forum.
The Court also directed that a copy of the present order be placed at the High Court filing counter so that whenever writ petitions are filed against original orders, the Registry can inform lawyers of the availability of the alternate remedy, in case they wish to avail of the same.
In the present case, since the impugned order was appealable to the Divisional Commissioner, the Court permitted to the petitioner to withdraw the petition.
Advocate Saumya Tandon appeared for State.