‘Comatose spouse’s property must be put to his use,’ says Madras HC

Pointing out that writ petitions with similar prayers have been entertained and relief granted, the bench held that the single judge ‘was not right’ in holding the writ petition not maintainable.
‘Comatose spouse’s property must be put to his use,’ says Madras HC

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has allowed a woman to sell property owned by her husband, who is currently comatose, stating that the property has to be put to use for his benefit as taking care of a man in such a condition is not that easy.

A vacation bench of Justices G R Swaminathan and P B Balaji recently passed the orders on an appeal filed by S Sasikala of Chennai, challenging the orders of a single judge refusing to appoint her as guardian in order to deal with the property valued at Rs 1 crore. The single judge had directed her to approach a jurisdictional civil court.

Pointing out that writ petitions with similar prayers have been entertained and relief granted, the bench held that the single judge ‘was not right’ in holding the writ petition not maintainable. It also said the bench endorses the approach taken by the Kerala High Court in the case of Shobha Balakrishnan and another versus the State of Kerala on the issue of appointment of a guardian.

Referring to the interaction it had with the couple’s two children, the bench noted it is more than satisfied the family is ‘without any means’ and unless the property is allowed to be dealt with, great hardship will be caused to them. “Taking care of a person in a coma condition is not that easy,” it added.

Appointing Sasikala as the guardian of her husband Sivakumar, the bench directed her to deposit Rs 50 lakh from sale proceeds as a fixed deposit in a nationalised bank in his name and the interest can be utilised. The court also directed her to file an affidavit in this regard before the HC Registry.

The petitioner had stated that her husband was admitted to a private hospital from February 13 to April 4 and she has spent a huge amount of money for his treatment. He is currently being taken care of by paramedics at her house. She wanted the court to allow her to sell off the property so that she could pay his medical expenses and support the family.

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