HC issues guidelines for appointing guardians


‘Kerala HC rules can be used as framework for choosing guardian for comatose person’

An individual who seek to be appointed as guardian for a person lying in comatose state will have to first approach the court for thorough verification, the Delhi High Court has said while issuing a slew of guidelines on the issue.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher, in a significant ruling, said the guidelines framed by the Kerala High Court can be used as a framework for formulating guidelines that need to be applied in Delhi.

The guidelines state that a person who seek to be appointed as guardians shall in his or her petition to the court disclose the details of all tangible and intangible assets of such an individual. The court will then have the person lying in comatose examined by a duly constituted medical board which would include a neurologist.

The court will also direct the Sub-divisional Magistrate concerned or Tehsildar in whose jurisdiction the person lying in comatose is said to be located to carry out an enquiry to establish the veracity of the assertion. It will also gather material particulars concerning the person who approach the court for being appointed as guardians.

Any conflict of interest concerning the affairs of the person lying in comatose state will be brought to the fore in the report generated during the course of enquiry, the guideline said.

“Ordinarily only that person will be appointed as guardian who is a spouse or a progeny of the person lying in comatose,” the guideline said.

In the event, the person lying in comatose has neither a spouse nor any children or even any legal heirs or if he/she has such persons in his life but stands abandoned by them, subject to the permission of the court his next friend who wishes to be appointed as a guardian can approach the court with such a request.

Alternative measure

As an alternative measure, the court could also direct the Department of Social Welfare, Delhi government to appoint a public official such as a Social Welfare Officer or a person holding equivalent rank to act as the guardian of the person lying in comatose state. The person appointed as a guardian will have to submit every six months or within such period as the court may indicate in its order a report with the Registrar General of the High Court.

The report should have details of the transactions undertaken by the guardian in respect of the assets of the person lying in comatose state, the High Court said.

The court order came on a petition by daughters of a woman, who is in comatose state, seeking access to the Public Provident Fund which was opened and maintained by their deceased father.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 11:10:34 PM |

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