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HC permits woman to operate comatose husband’s bank accounts

The Bombay High Court allowed a woman from Navi Mumbai to operate the bank accounts of her 63-year-old comatose husband after observing that she had already suffered a lot.

The woman had approached the high court earlier this week, seeking to be appointed as her husband’s guardian — in the absence of specific legal provisions to deal with the rights of such patients — so that she could operate his bank accounts to fund his medical care.

A division bench of Justices S M Kemkar and G S Kulkarni allowed the lady to operate the bank accounts and said, “Let us not put her through more troubles.”

The court had earlier directed the sub-divisional magistrate of Thane collectorate to submit a report on the health condition of the man, who is a retired general manager of a public sector undertaking (PSU).

It had also directed the woman to submit affidavits of her two daughters, giving no-objection to their mother operating the bank accounts.

The court perused the magistrates report and the affidavits submitted by the daughters and said, “The petitioner is facing hardships. We are permitting the petitioner to operate the bank accounts.”

The woman, along with her petition, had submitted reports of neurologists from the Apollo Hospital in Navi Mumbai, certifying that her husband was suffering from “malignant MCA territory infarction of the brain” and was “in a persistent vegetative state”.

The woman’s husband, who had retired as a general manager of an oil PSU, had suffered a paralytic stroke and was admitted to the Apollo Hospital on August 30.

He has been “unconscious and in a comatose condition as an indoor patient” on the ventilator life support since his admission, the petition had said.

But with his vital and physical parameters stable, the hospital had discharged him after 28 days with an advice that he be kept under 24-hour care of a trained paramedic.

The PSU had helped with the medical expenses. However, to repay some of the money that the woman had borrowed and for the continued care of her husband, which is expected to cost Rs one lakh a month, she needed to withdraw from his savings and bank accounts, the petition had said.

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