CALCUTTA: Bengali singer Nachiketa, in his 90s song ‘Bridhashram’ (old age home) had predicted a time when the protagonist mother ousted by her son books a bed beside her own in the old age home, waiting for her son to be ousted by her grandson.
A recent Calcutta High Court ruling may bring a smile on thousands of ousted parents like her. In a relief to thousands of elderly parents pushed out of their own homes to old age homes by their sons, the Calcutta High Court ruled that children living in their parents’ house have to listen to them and respect them, or else find their own separate accommodation.
The ruling by Judge Jaymalya Bachi came while hearing the case of prolonged mental and physical torture on Subhaschandra and Birati Haldar of Baduria in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal at the hands of their son Subhendu and daughter-in-law Ria.
The old couple had approached the High Court first in 2014 alleging police inaction against their son and daughter-in-law despite reports of torture. A High Court ruling on April 17, 2015, by Justice Indraprasanna Mukhopadhyay ordered police to warn the son and daughter-in-law. However, when summoned, the young couple brought along their son, begged for mercy and made the old couple emotional by using their grandson.
The matter seemed settled until the torture recommenced. Unable to bear it anymore, the old couple again approached police on December 6 last year and an FIR was filed. The son and daughter-in-law were arrested but later released on bail, sources revealed.
The landmark judgment has given hope not only to the old couple but to thousands of ousted parents languishing in several old age homes in the state. Many of them plan to reclaim their properties ousting their sons and their families.
“I may now get what is rightfully mine,” said Debtanu Hazra, who was kicked out and kept in an old age home by his son after his wife died five years ago. “All my emotions have died for my son, whom I gave birth to and gave a good education, shelter and food but who kicked me out after my husband’s death. I will get back to my husband’s house and throw him out now,” said Minati Singh, another inmate.
It has been found that elders who lose their spouse are more easily shown the door than couples.