The Bombay High Court recently passed a judgment in favour of a 91-year-old man suffering from dementia, after his daughter urged the court to restrain his other daughter, son-in-law and domestic help, who allegedly siphoned off crores from his bank accounts, from accessing them. The court also restrained the family members on transacting from his bank accounts or acting on gift deeds executed by him in the last five years.
A suit was filed by a woman, a citizen of Singapore, on behalf of her father, against her sister, her husband and a domestic help, who took care of him in Hong Kong. The petitioner told the court that her father resided in Hong Kong and was suffering from dementia. Allegedly taking advantage of his condition, the petitioner’s sister, her husband and maid had allegedly siphoned large sums of money from the bank accounts of petitioner’s father, and have shifted him to Mumbai, the petitioner told the court.
The petitioner further told the court that her father’s immovable properties in Hong Kong have been transferred by way of a gift deed in favour of the petitioner’s sister. The petitioner had moved the court for urgent relief. On May 19, the petitioner along with her father, sister and her husband were present in the court.
Justice S J Kathawalla observed from the enquiry before the parties, “…it is clear that Mr…(petitioner’s father) is suffering from loss of memory / dementia.” The petitioner’s sister told the court that their father is being treated by a neurologist at Nanavati Hospital.
Justice Kathawalla said: “Before commenting on the allegations made in the plaint as well as made before me, I am of the view that the welfare of (petitioner’s father)… is of paramount importance and the estate of Mr… also needs to be protected.”
The court added: “None of the parties shall operate any of the bank accounts, which are in the single name of Mr…. or jointly with any other individual/s. Any properties / cash of Mr…. purportedly transferred by him by way of Sale, Gift, etc. in the last five years in favour of any party, shall not be dealt with in any manner whatsoever by the recipient / beneficiary.”
The court also appointed Additional Prothonotary and Senior Master of High Court as the next friend of petitioner’s father. A next friend is a person who represents another person who is under disability or otherwise unable to maintain a suit on his or her own behalf and who does not have a legal guardian.