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Wife is the Guardian to Husband who is in a vegetative State: Bombay High Court

The inherent power of the court is to make orders necessary for the ends of justice. Inherent power has not been conferred upon a court; it is a power inherent in the court by virtue of its duty to do justice between the parties before it. 2The Hon’ble High Court of Bombay in Rajni Hariom Sharma V. Union of India [WRIT PETITION (ST) NO.3883 OF 2020] allowed the wife to act as her incapacitated husband’s guardian.

It was further held by the Hon’ble Court that “According to Hindu Vedic philosophy, marriage is a sanskar or a sacrament. What is essentially contemplated is a union of two souls. The eternal being is composed of two halves i.e., the man and the woman. Both the halves are equal and one-half is incomplete without the other. As long as the wife survives, one half of the husband survives.”

The Hon’ble Court while examining various judgements of Supreme Court and High courts on Conjugal rights held that “In such circumstances, there can be no manner of doubt that conceptually the wife can be said to be best suited to be the guardian of her husband who is under a state of incapacity or disability on account of being in a comatose condition or vegetative state.”

The Hon’ble Court applied the Doctrine of parens patriae which was evolved in Aruna Shanbaug case and observed that “the idea behind the doctrine of parens patriae is that if a citizen is in need of someone who can act as a parent, who can make decisions and take some other action, sometimes the State is best qualified to take on this role.”, It was also noted by the Hon’ble Court that there is a lack of legislative clarity about who will be designated as a guardian of a person in a coma or in a vegetative condition.

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