After the Bombay High Court on Friday asked Mashal Khan, a Pakistani national and the great grandson of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, also known as Frontier Gandhi, as to how he could be appointed as guardian of his aunt Zarin Ghani Walsh, a Canadian citizen residing in Mumbai, his lawyer submitted that Mashal filed a plea only with a view to take his ailing aunt back with him to Pakistan. Khan submitted that his other request for appointing him as her guardian in person and property could wait and requested the court to decide on his plea on an urgent basis.
The court on Friday directed Khan to file an additional affidavit listing properties of Walsh, identity details and family tree and examine remedies available to him under the Disabilities Act within ten days and posted further hearing next month.
A division bench of Justices K K Tated and Milind N Jadhav heard in brief a plea by Khan (40), seeking to be appointed as the guardian of his 76-year-old aunt — a resident of Breach Candy Gardens in Mumbai — on the ground that she is mentally and physically unfit to take necessary and appropriate decisions in her interest.
Advocates Mayur Khandeparkar and Vaishali Dholakia for petitioner reiterated that as Zarin’s only surviving relatives were the widow of her brother and her three sons, including Mashal, they wished to take her to Pakistan in view of her health and she can spend rest of her life with them.
When the court enquired as to how a Pakistani national could approach an Indian Court, Khandeparkar said he was entitled to seek such relief under Article 21 (Right to life with dignity) of the Constitution. The court said that while depending upon the arguments during further hearings, it could allow Khan to take Walsh back to Pakistan, another prayer for appointment as guardian in person and property could not be granted.
To this, Mashal’s lawyer referred to the previous order of HC stating that it had allowed a foreigner to be appointed as guardian. The state government and central government however opposed the prayer and said that as per National Trust Act, Mashal could not be appointed as executor of Walsh’s property.
After hearing submissions, the court asked Mashal to file an affidavit listing properties of Walsh in India along with other family details within ten days. The Court also asked the petitioner to examine various legal provisions including Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act.
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