In a setback to Jaya Jaitly,close aide of former defence minister George Fernandes,the Delhi High Court has declined her visitation rights to meet the ailing leader. It held that she cannot have a say in the case between his brothers and his wife.
Underlining that sentimental and political considerations could not grant Jaitly legal status to intervene in the matter,Justice Manmohan Singh dismissed her dual plea to be impleaded as a party to the civil case and hence,also be granted visitation rights to meet Fernandes,82,who is suffering from Alzheimers disease.
A person in order to implead himself as a party must have some legal interest in the issue and not merely a sentimental grievance or commercial interest or the interest based on other political consideration, noted the court.
The court is currently adjudicating a petition by Fernandess brothers Richard,Aloysious,Michael and Paul. They have filed the suit for permanent and mandatory injunction against the leaders wife Leila Kabir and his son Sean,seeking their right to have unrestricted access to Fernandes and to supervise his treatment. They have pleaded for restraining his wife and son from taking Fernandes out of India and to further take him back to his official residence in Delhi.
Seeking to be heard in the matter,Jaitly moved the application,stating she has been a close political colleague and confidante of Fernandes for more than 30 years and that the ailing leader required aid and assistance from the old friend. She claimed that Fernandes should not be precluded from exercising his basic human right to meet acquaintance and friends.
Her plea was opposed by the brothers on the ground of locus standi and they said since she could not assert her legal status,she could not be added as a party. The court found substance in the brothers argument.
…the rights of the plaintiffs,being real brothers,cannot be equated with that of the applicant,solely on the ground of sentimental or political considerations, said Justice Singh.
Meanwhile,the court allowed a separate application by the brothers,seeking to get the trial conducted on a day-to-day basis,considering the advanced age and ailment of the leader. The judge appointed a court commissioner to hold trial expeditiously.