Parents under no obligation to pay dues of adult children
Last year, my 22-year-old son took up a part-time job with a company and he got a credit card through the company. In just three months after that, he left for Dubai for higher studies. After he left, I was told that there is an outstanding payment of Rs 1 lakh on the card. As he has given our house address, I repeatedly get calls and recently a recovery agent came to the house also. Am I liable to clear the debt of my adult son? Since he got the credit card through the company, shouldn’t they follow up with the company? I don’t want to pay the outstanding amount. What are my legal obligations?
— Mukesh via email
There was a time when children were marked with the liability of paying up the dues of their parents on the concept of ‘pious obligation’. But the reverse of the concept will not apply to the parents. You are under no obligation to pay the dues of your son. Often, the credit card companies engage recovery agents who try to arm-twist people to pay the money. Courts have frowned upon such practices and have clearly indicated that the credit card company also will have to move civil courts for realising their dues.
Unregistered release deed not valid in a court of law
My wife had given a release deed to her brothers for an ancestral property, receiving Rs 2.5 lakh, in 2006. At that time, the wife’s brothers gave an oral assurance that a portion of land from the undivided property will be registered in her name. However, the release deed was never registered and no stamp duty paid. Later, they sold a high-value property in 2014 without my wife’s knowledge. Another high-value property was sold in 2019, again without her consent. Please clarify whether an unregistered release deed will be considered as evidence in case my wife files a declaration suit and partition suit of undivided ancestral property for sold and unsold property.
— Bhaskar via email
If a release deed is not registered by paying due stamp duty, then it cannot be valid in a court of law. It also cannot be produced before the court in your proposed suit in favour of your wife seeking the partition of the ancestral property (both sold and unsold).
Court may grant other options if unable to serve legal notice
I had loaned money to a colleague with whom I was in a relationship and was planning to get married. But after taking money, he disappeared claiming he was in isolation due to COVID and now he has ended the relationship with me. He had borrowed Rs 1.5 lakh in two parts. First I gave him Rs 50,000 in cash and then a cheque for Rs 1 lakh. I don’t have his present address. How do I get my money back? Who can I approach?
— (Name withheld on request)
Send a legal notice to the last known address. Thereafter you can file a civil suit against your colleague (in that case also, it is enough if you give the last known address). If the notice on your colleague returns, unable to be served in that address, the court may permit you to serve by substituted service and thereafter through paper publication. In the meantime, you can also engage a private detective agency to find out his address.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed here are of Justice K Chandru, who is providing guidance and direction based on his rich experience and knowledge of the law. This is not a substitute for legal recourse which must be taken as a follow-up if so recommended in these columns