Supreme Court Guidelines




Shobha Gopalakrishnan and Others v. State of Kera/a and Others

2019 (2) RCR (Civil) 422: 2019 (1) ILR (Ker) 669: 2019 (1) KLT 801:

2019 (2) KLJ 549

WP (C) No. 37278 and 37062 of 2018

Dated: February 20, 2019

BENCH: Justices P.R. Ramachandra Menon and N. Anil Kumar.

Kerala High Court: Guidelines to deal with the  procedure  for  appointment  of Guardian to a patient lying in ‘comatose state.’  Earlier  to  these  Direction  stated  below, there were no specific provision is available  in any Statutes  to deal with the  procedure for such appointment of Guardian to a victim lying in ‘comatose state’.

High Court finds it appropriate to fix the following norms/guidelines as a temporary measure:

(I) Petitioner/s seeking for appointment  of Guardian to a person lying in comatose state shall disclose the particulars  of the  property,  both  movable and immovable,  owned and possessed by the patient lying in comatose state.

(II) The condition of the person lying in comatose  state  shall  be  got  ascertained  by causing him to be examined by a duly constituted Medical Board, of whom one shall definitely be a qualified Neurologist.

(III) A simultaneous visit of the person lying in comatose state, at his residence, shall be caused to be made through the Revenue authorities, not  below the rank of a Tahsildar and a report shall be procured as to all the relevant facts and figures, including the particulars of the close relatives, their financial conditions and such other aspects.

(IV) The person seeking appointment  as  Guardian  of a  person  lying in  comatose  state shall be a close relative  (spouse or children)  and all the persons  to  be classified  as legal heirs in the due course shall be in the party array. In the absence of the suitable close relative, a public official such as ‘Social Welfare officer’ can be sought to be appointed as a Guardian to the person lying in ‘comatose state’.

(V) The person applying for appointment as Guardian shall be one who is legally competent to be appointed as a Guardian.

(VI) The appointment of a Guardian as above shall only be in respect of the  specific properties and bank accounts/such other properties  of the  person lying in comatose state; to be indicated in the order appointing the Guardian and the  Guardian  so appointed shall act always in the best interest of the person lying in ‘comatose state’.

(VII) The person appointed as Guardian shall file periodical  reports in  every six months before  the  Registrar  General  of  this  Court,  which  shall  contain  the  particulars  of all transactions taken by the Guardian  in respect of the person and  property of the patient in comatose state; besides showing the utilization  of the funds  received  and spent by him/her.

(VIII) The Registrar General shall cause to maintain a separate Register with regard to appointment of Guardian to  persons  lying in ‘comatose state’  and  adequate  provision to keep the Reports filed by the Guardian appointed by this Court.

(IX) It is open for this Court to appoint a person as Guardian to  the  person  lying  in comatose state, either temporarily  or for a specified  period  or  permanently,  as found to be appropriate.

(X) If there is any misuse of power or misappropriation of funds or non-extension of requisite care and protection or support with regard to the treatment and other requirements of the person lying in comatose state, it is open to bring up the matter for further consideration of this Court to re-open and revoke the power, to take appropriate action against the person concerned, who was appointed as the Guardian and also to appoint another person/public authority/Social Welfare Officer (whose official status is equal to the post of District Probation Officer) as the Guardian.

(XI) It shall be for the Guardian appointed by the Court  to meet  the  obligations/duties similar to those as described under Section 15 of the National  Trust  Act  and  to maintain and submit the accounts similar to those contained in Section 16.

(XII) The Guardian so appointed shall bring the appointment to the notice of the Social Welfare Officer having  jurisdiction  in  the  place  of residence,  along with  a copy of the verdict appointing  him as Guardian,  enabling  the Social Welfare  Officer  of the area to visit  the  person  lying in  ‘comatose  state’  at  random  and  to submit  a  report, if so necessitated, calling for further action/interference of this Court.

(XIII) The transactions  in respect  of the property of the person lying in  ‘comatose state’,  by the Guardian, shall be strictly in accordance with the relevant provisions of law. If the Guardian appointed  is found  to  be abusing the power  or  neglects or acts contrary to the best interest of  the person  lying in  ‘comatose state’,  any relative  or  next  friend may apply to this Court for removal of such Guardian.

(XIV) The  Guardian appointed shall seek and obtain specific permission  from  this Court, if he/she intends to  transfer  the  person  lying in comatose  state from  the  jurisdiction of this Court to another  State or Country,  whether  it  be for availing  better  treatment or otherwise.


About the author

Editor LU

Leave a Comment