Karnataka HC: Directed to pay Rs 7 lakh as maintenance to woman’s son, granddaughter

Bengaluru: The Karnataka High Court has come to the rescue of an 85-year-old woman from Kodagu by ordering her son and granddaughter to pay an annual maintenance allowance of Rs 7 lakh each.

Justice M Nagaprasanna directed that the maintenance amount be paid to petitioner Apparanda Shanthi Bopanna by his third son AB Ganapathy and his late first son’s daughter Pooja, a resident of Bengaluru.

Shanti Bopanna had questioned the March 22, 2022 order of the Deputy Commissioner under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act.

“The order of the DC, which directs payment of maintenance to the petitioner, is sustained with a modification that the son and the granddaughter will be entitled to enjoy the fruits of the gift deeds executed by the petitioner, subject to the condition that they will pay the same. Maintenance of Rs 7 lakh every year till her lifetime,” the court said, while noting that the petitioner is not in a position to take care of his property after the cancellation of the gift deed.

Shanthi Bopanna, a resident of Herur in Virajpet taluk of Kodagu district, owned a 48-acre coffee estate and lived in her husband’s ancestral house. Of the 48-acre estate, his eldest son AB Biddappa occupied 24 acres.

In 2016, he executed a gift contract of 24 acres of land, 11 acres each, in favor of Ganpati and Pooja, on the assurance that they would pay him Rs 7 lakh every year as maintenance. Ganapathy and Pooja only paid Rs 7 lakh to Shanthi Bopanna till 2019.

After learning that Ganapathy and Pooja were attempting to alienate the property, Shanthi Bopanna initiated legal proceedings before the Assistant Commissioner, who canceled the gift deeds in 2021.

Later, Ganapathy and Pooja approached the Deputy Commissioner, who rejected the Assistant Commissioner’s order saying that nowhere in the gift deeds it was mentioned that the donor would take care of the donor. But the DC directed them to provide facilities and other assistance to Shanti Bopanna along with maintenance amount to be paid annually till her lifetime.

Ganapathy and Pooja argued before the High Court that they would pay Shanti Bopanna only Rs 10,000 or even Rs 25,000 per month as per Section 24 of the Act, and not Rs 7 lakh every year.

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