Bombay High Court Appoints Wife As Legal Guardian For Comatose Husband; Grants Authority Over Finances & Properties

Bombay High Court Appoints Wife As Legal Guardian For Comatose Husband; Grants Authority Over Finances & Properties

Appointing the wife as legal guardian, the high court has said that all authorities shall accept status and allow her to operate his bank accounts as well as his movable and immovable properties.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Friday, February 09, 2024, 10:03 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File Image

Observing that the medical condition of a man who has been in comatose for more than two years has not changed, the Bombay High Court has appointed his wife as his legal guardian.

“We find that the circumstances in the present case are such that the petitioner (wife) would be justified in espousing the cause of her husband who is lying in a vegetative state…” a bench of Justices Girish Kulkarni and Firdosh Pooniwalla said on Thursday.

“The petitioner is required to look after the welfare of (man) and incur expenditure required in that regard. She also is required to manage his properties and look after her three children and after the mother, who is also a senior citizen and incur expenditure on them.”

The HC was hearing a petition by his Chennai-based wife stating that her husband was taken to a hospital in Ruwais in Abu Dhabi on December 8, 2021, in an unconscious state and diagnosed with brain injury due to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Since then, he has remained in a vegetative condition and has been moved to long-term acute care.

Her advocate Kenny Thakkar contended that there is no provision in law for assistance / welfare of persons in comatose condition. She was compelled to approach the high court since two Mumbai banks and a depository refused to allow her to manage his accounts and asked her to get a court order.

On court order, a team of doctors from AIIMS-Delhi tried to assess the man’s condition via video conference. However, they submitted a report saying the same cannot be done through VC. Following this, the HC had requested the Indian high commissioner to the UAE to assist and verify the man’s condition.

A note, along with the man’s medical report, was sent on February 6 by the counsellor, Indian embassy, Abu Dhabi.

The bench noted that this report and a previous report “are all consistent to state that (the man) is in a comatose state”.

Noting that the wife has to take care of the family, the HC said: “In these circumstances, we are clearly of the opinion that the petitioner cannot be left helpless and it would be in the interests of justice that the petitioner be appointed as the legal guardian of her husband.”

Appointing the wife as legal guardian, the HC has said that all authorities shall accept status and allow her to operate his bank accounts as well as his movable and immovable properties.

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