Elderly Indian couple sue son and daughter-in-law for ‘failing to provide a grandchild’

An elderly couple in India is suing their only child and his wife for the bizarre reason that they failed to provide them with a grandchild.

Sanjiv Ranjan Prasad and his wife Sadhana Prasad, residents of Haridwar city in the northern state of Uttarakhand, have moved court and are seeking a compensation of Rs 50m (£530,000) from the couple if they are unable to have a child within the next year.

Mr Prasad has cited financial struggles for suing his son after he got married in 2016 with the “hopes of having a grandchild”. He also alleged that his daughter-in-law and her family control his son’s finances and have prevented them from having a child.

“We didn't care about gender, just wanted a grandchild,” Mr Prasad told news agency ANI.

Women in India are expected, and often forced, to bear children within a few years of their marriage. Traditional families in India have patriarchal setups with expectations of a male child even though the sex ratio remains skewed in many parts of the country.

Mr Prasad claimed he had to spend all his money on his son’s education in the US and is presently undergoing a financial crisis.

“I gave my son all my money, got him trained in America. I don’t have any money now. We have taken a loan from the bank to build a house. We’re troubled financially and personally (sic),” he added.

“We have demanded Rs 25m (£264, 366) each from the son and the daughter-in-law,” Mr Prasad continued.

In a petition filed before the court on 7 May, Mr Prasad claimed he spent nearly Rs 20m (£258,322) to raise his only child, a sum that was more than they could afford.

Mr Prasad bought an expensive car for the couple with loaned money and also paid Rs 500,000 (£5,285) for the couple’s honeymoon in Thailand, the petition stated.

He claimed that his son, who is a pilot with a commercial airline, moved to southern India’s Hyderabad city, bought a house in his wife’s name and ceased communication with his parents.

When Mr Prasad pressed his son for a grandchild, he alleged in the petition that the couple “pretended” to be separated as they both live in different cities due to their professions.

AK Srivastava, the advocate representing Mr Prasad and his wife, argued that the elderly couple are seeking compensation for financial and emotional loss.

“The couple has the freedom to not give birth to a child, which is why we are asking to be compensated. The amount is just given the money Mr Prasad has spent on his son’s upbringing,” he told The Independent.

“Such new cases are important as they lead to the formation of new laws,” he added.

The matter will be heard in court on 17 May.