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Son cannot claim his share in property of his parents when they are alive: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court held that the son has no rights in his parent’s flats while they are still alive through the Division Bench of Justices G.S. Patel and Madhav J. Jamda in the case of Sonia Fazal Khan v. Union of India (WRIT PETITION (L.) NO.12047 OF 2021)

FACTS OF THE CASE:
According to the petition, Fazal Khan has had multiple strokes in addition to dementia and has spent the last ten years in a vegetative state. The main thrust of the petition was Sonia, the first petitioner, being named as the guardian of Fazal’s person and property.

Fazal’s medical report revealed that he was entirely dependent on his caregivers. In the current instance, the court was concerned with a bank account where Sonia, who was also his wife, and Fazal, who was the original holder, were both joint holders. A home that was a residential apartment made up the second asset.

In the current instance, the court was concerned with a bank account where Sonia, who was also his wife, and Fazal, who was the original holder, were both joint holders. A home that was a residential apartment made up the second asset. Asif Fazal Khan filed an intervention plea, according to the court, even though there was no evidence of him serving as Fazal’s “de facto” guardian for any length of time. Asif further argued that even though his parents were still living, there were two flats and they were “a shared home,” so he, the son, had some form of legally enforceable claim to one or both of these flats.

JUDGEMENT:

A comprehensive statute addressing these circumstances and authorizing such guardianship is still lacking, according to the division bench of Justice Madhav J. Jamdar and Justice G. S. Patel. However, there are some indicators in the Disabilities Act and in other statutes of a similar nature.

The court deemed it absurd to claim that Asif had a legally enforceable interest in any of the flats during the lives of the genuine owners, his parents. Even though he is their child, neither of their flats does not qualify as “a shared household.” The judge did not understand how Asif could allege domestic abuse when it is clear that he was never a member of the relationship in the first place.

The court denied Asif’s request for intervention and stated that his response alone reveals his actual character, which is completely cruel and avaricious. The petitioner Sonia Fazal Khan was granted permission by the court to manage the aforementioned Saraswat Cooperative Bank account. It is erected in Fazal Akbar Khan and Sonia Fazal Khan’s combined name. She is allowed to use the funds in this account to cover all of Fazal’s expenses.

The court further stated that she was not allowed to move any of these funds to her own account or utilize any of them for personal gain. She is expected to keep accurate records, including copies of any payments made from this account, whether they were made with a check, a transfer, or cash withdrawals. Sonia must submit a statement of account detailing the withdrawals from the account once a year.

The court gave Sonia permission to start talks with any potential buyer and to continue talks until they reached an agreement on a price and other terms, but she was not allowed to sign either an MoU or an agreement for the sale of the real estate without first obtaining permission from the court. Since there is no specific law in this area, the court treated Fazal’s case practically the same as one involving a minor who owns a share of real estate. As a result, Fazal’s interests are inescapably in the Court’s custody and control, and any disposition of his interest in any real estate must be done for explicit, legitimate, and clearly in his best interest.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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