New Delhi, May 16
“You seem to be more interested in her properties. This is the tragedy of senior citizens in our country,” said the Supreme Court as it restrained a son from dealing with properties of her 89-year-old mother, suffering from advanced dementia and having no comprehension of either verbal or physical cues.
The top court asked the counsel appearing for the son to take instruction on the issue of whether the younger sisters residing in Noida can be allowed to take care of their mother either in the hospital or at home, as advised by the doctors.
A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant took serious note of the fact that the son took his mother who is also virtually immobile to a registrar's office in Motihari, Bihar, to get her thumb impression to allegedly sell off her properties worth Rs two crore.
“You seem to be more interested in her properties. This is the tragedy of senior citizens in our country. You took her to the registrar's office in Motihari to get her thumb impression despite the fact that she is suffering from an advanced stage of dementia and could not make out a thing,” the Bench said on May 13, while hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by the sisters.
Senior advocate Priya Hingorani and advocate Manish Kumar Saran appearing for petitioners Pushpa Tiwary and Gayatri Kumar who are daughters of Vaidehi Singh (89-year-old mother) submitted that they have looked after her until 2019 until the lockdown and eventually intervened in March 2020 and are ready and willing to look after her and to provide her either hospital or home care as may be advised by the doctors.
Hingorani claimed that other siblings are not allowed to even meet or visit their mother, who is in the custody of their eldest brother and once they were allowed to meet but in the presence of police and there was no privacy.
The Bench said that the counsel for the fifth respondent (Krishna Kumar Singh, eldest son and at present having the custody of the mother) shall take instructions on the proposal which has been put forth by the counsel for the petitioners so that necessary orders can be passed on the proposal after hearing the rival parties.
The counsel for Krishna Kumar Singh said that in Noida the sister has only a two-room flat and there will be the constraint of space. The Bench observed, "it does not matter how big your area is but what matters is how big your heart is".
The bench noted in its order, “Unfortunately, it has emerged during the course of the proceedings that despite the serious physical and mental condition of the mother, the fifth respondent has proceeded to deal in her properties by seeking the presence of the mother as a confirming party to the execution of sale deeds”.
It directed, “Pending further orders, there shall be no further transactions in respect of any property, movable or immovable, of Smt Vaidehi Singh.”
Vaidehi Singh has four sons and two daughters. The Supreme Court has listed the matter for further hearing on May 17.
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