A woman has moved the Madras High Court, seeking directions to appoint her as the legal guardian of her husband, who is in a state of coma for six months, so that it enables her manage his properties.
When the petition came up for hearing yesterday, Justice T Raja directed the dean of the Rajiv Gandhi Medical College Hospital here to depute a civil surgeon, who, along with a tahsildar, will visit the patient and submit a report after verifying his identity and condition.
The judge suo motu (on his own) impleaded the dean and the tahsildar of Mylapore as respondents to the petition filed by S Hamsavathy Varalakshmi of Royapuram here and posted the matter to July 19 for further hearing.
The petitioner submitted that her husband Sekaran had been ailing since December, 2017 and been comatose for six months. Doctors attending on him at a private hospital here had issued a certificate on his comatose state on April 4.
The petitioner also submitted that Tamil Nadu had not made any laws to ensure that those in a state of comatose or mentally incapacitated were not left in the lurch, in terms of having a guardian appointed for their longer well-being and care.
Referring to Supreme Court verdicts, the petitioner's counsel said the apex court had already recognised the jurisdiction of the high courts to entertain such petitions for appointment of legal guardians.
The state was the "parens patriae" (legal protector of citizens unable to protect themselves) to the persons suffering from coma and even the courts were "state" within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution, the counsel said.
Hence, the courts had an obligation to care for and provide for the rights of those in coma.
The petitioner said her husband and 11 others had entered into an agreement with a construction firm for development of an immovable property in Mylapore, in which they had a share.
The construction work was over, but a general power of attorney granted by her husband had expired and had to be re-executed for selling the finished property to a third party.
If she was not appointed as the legal guardian of her husband, the latter would be put to grave and irreparable loss, the petitioner submitted.
She sought a direction from the court to the officials concerned, including those in the Registration department, to recognise her as the legal guardian of her husband and permit her to execute and register the deeds of his properties.
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