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HC asks Fernandes' wife to bring him to court

HC asks Fernandes' wife to bring him to court

George Fernandes will have to be produced before the Delhi High Court at 1630 hrs IST on Monday.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the wife of ailing former Union Minister George Fernandes to present the veteran socialist leader before it on July 5 to decide the custody battle between her and his brothers.

The court directed Leila Kabir to produce the 80-year-old politician as "it wants to ascertain what he wants". "The person who, due to some incapability, was not able to be heard, the court wants to know what is in his mind to settle the issue," Justice VK Shali said directing Kabir to present Fernandes in the court at 1600 hrs IST on July 5.

The court was hearing the petition filed by Fernandes' brothers Richard and Michael seeking custody of their brother alleging that the former minister, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, is not being properly treated by his wife. The judge said he was concerned about the health of Fernandes.

"I am not on the legal dimension of the case. My concern is only about his health," Justice Shali said.

The court also asked the two sides to find out a lawyer who knows Konkani language so that he can help translate Fernandes' statement. The order in this regard was passed after the court was told that Fernandes speaks in English as well as in Konkani language with his brothers.

The brothers of the leader also sought the court's permission to shift him to his official residence at 3, Krisha Menon Marg from the Panchsheel Park residence of his wife. This was objected to by Kabir's lawyer Aman Lekhi who said Fernandes was being treated at a private hospital in south Delhi and there was no need to shift him to his official residence.

The brothers of Fernandes on Thursday filed a fresh application seeking constitution of a medical board to ascertain his condition. They also wanted a local commissioner to be appointed to ascertain the wish of Fernandes which was objected to by Kabir's lawyer who alleged that the brothers have not met him for a month.

The family members of socialist leader are fighting a legal battle for getting his custody. His brothers have alleged that Kabir was not allowing them access to the veteran leader. They also alleged that she was staying separately from Fernandes for the past 25 years and had now come back to him as she was eyeing his property.

Countering the allegations, Kabir alleged that the suit was filed at the instance of Fernandes' close aide Jaya Jaitley. She said the brothers stayed outside Delhi and had never visited the former minister. She claimed that the property worth crores of rupees was the motivating factor for them to be here.

Earlier, the court had asked the warring family members to resolve their differences and provide best medical treatment to the leader. The counsel for both the parties had agreed to the court's suggestion to sit together to find out a solution but they failed to come to an amicable settlement.

first published:July 01, 2010, 15:16 IST