PUNE-BASED builder Santosh Deshmukh, whose 64-year-old father Rohidas has been in a coma for six months, and whose mother is mentally challenged, has now been appointed by the Bombay High Court as a “guardian”, to enable the transactions related to his father’s property worth Rs 5 to 7 crore.
On October 12, Justice Shantanu S Kemkar and G S Kulkarni of the Bombay HC, while issuing the order, also referred to a previous judgment of the Madras HC in the case of Sairabanu Mohammed Rafi Vs the State of Tamil Nadu & Others, in January 2016.
In the 2016 case, too, Sairabanu’s husband had been in a comatose condition and there was no provision in the law, either under the Mental Health Act or the Guardian and Wards Act, 1980, for the appointment of a guardian in such a situation. The court then appointed Sairabanu as a guardian for her husband for the purpose of dealing with his immovable properties and operating his bank accounts.
Advocate Rajendra Jagtap, who appeared on behalf of Santosh Deshmukh, said there was no no provision in the law to appoint a son as the guardian for his father. Santosh, who is a builder-cum-developer, has three sisters. According to Jagtap, Rohidas, a resident of Deshmukwadi at Shivane, Haveli taluka, Pune, had met with an accident and been in a coma for the last six months. His medical expenses, including the stay in the intensive care unit and the home-based care, have amounted to Rs 30 lakh, said Jagtap. Also, he added, Santosh had to take care of the property-related transactions his father could not finish, he added.
Santosh had moved a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution and appealed to be appointed as the guardian of his father for the purpose of operating bank accounts and completing property transactions.
The court accepted the medical opinion of the team of experts from B J Government Medical College that included professor & head, Department of Medicine, BJGMC, Pune, associate professor, Department of Psychiatry, BJGMC, Pune, and professor and head of Department of Surgery, BJGMC, Pune, Sasoon General Hospital, who certified that he had “diffused axonal injury to the brain and was mentally unfit to take rational and independent decisions”.
Taking into account the medical opinion, which confirmed that the disability was permanent and Rohidas was incapable of taking care of himself, the Bombay HC appointed Santosh as his father’s “guardian”.