Delhi High Court: Prateek Jalan, J., reiterated the position of law laid down in the decision of Vandana Tyagi v. GNCTD, [WP (C) 1103 of 2019, decided on 07-01-2020.
Petitioner sought direction upon the respondent/State Bank of India [Bank] to release an amount of Rs 30,000 per month to him from the bank account of his incapacitated nephew, Mr Ajit Kumar Singh [AKS].
Petitioner submitted that AKS had been bedridden and incapacitated as he was suffering from acute ischemic strokes since 2018 and his health worsened in November 2020. It was also stated that an amount of ₹30,000 per month would be required so as to meet AKS’s daily and medical expenditure, including doctor’s fees, medicines, food, therapist, nurse etc.
Petitioner being the paternal uncle of AKS stated that he had been taking care of his nephew and had been acting as his guardian, in addition to maintaining his own family, but was not in a position to financially sustain his nephew indefinitely, and meet his medical expenditure as well.
Bank denied the request for withdrawal of the said amount from the bank account of AKS on the ground that there was no policy that allowed such withdrawals, even by family members in cases of medical emergencies.
Instant petition was filed in view of the above circumstances.
Mr Ramesh Singh, Standing Counsel for GNCTD drew the Court’s attention to Clause 5.7 of the Master Circular on Maintenance of Deposit Accounts – UCB dated 01-07-2009 [Master Circular] issued by RBI which was in respect to “Operation of Bank Accounts by Old/Sick/Incapacitated Customers”
On examination by the medical board it was found that AKS was virtually in a comatose state and would not be able to indicate the person who would be entitled to operate his bank account in terms of Clause 5.7.3 of the Master Circular.
In view of the above stated circumstances and facts, reliance was placed on the decision of Delhi High Court in Vandana Tyagi v. GNCTD, [WP (C) 1103 of 2019, decided on 07-01-2020] which laid down guidelines that may be used to deal with situation such as the present one where a person is unable to discharge his/her functions with respect to his/her assets.
On 04-03-2021, this Court prima facie had opined that the aforesaid decision was applicable to the present matter.
In view of the facts and circumstances of the present case, Bench held that the guidelines issued in Delhi High Court’s decision of Vandana Tyagi v. GNCTD, [WP (C) 1103 of 2019, decided on 07-01-2020] will be applicable to the present case.
Bench was satisfied with the report from the Medical Board that AKS was in a comatose state and incapable of operating his bank account himself or giving necessary directions for this purpose. Tehsildar’s report corroborated the information placed on record.
AKS and his wife had discord in their marital relations and the same was a subject matter of legal proceedings wherein they mutually agreed to divorce upon certain terms and conditions. His adult son stated vide an affidavit that he had no objection to the petitioner being appointed as legal guardian of AKS.
In Court’s opinion, neither AKS’s spouse nor his children were in a position to take care of him and also they had no objection to petitioner taking on the role of guardian to AKS.
High Court held that petitioner shall be appointed at the guardian of AKS for the purpose of withdrawal of a fixed monthly amount from the savings account of AKS, subject to safeguards contained in the guidelines incorporated in Vandana Tyagi case.
Court directed that the petitioner may be permitted to withdraw Rs 20,000 per month from AKS’s account.
- Bank will file the statement of accounts of the aforesaid account before the Registrar General of this Court every three months to monitor the aforesaid aspect.
- Petitioner will also file a statement of accounts before the Registrar General every three months stating the items of expenditure with regard to the aforesaid amount of ₹20,000
- In the event, the petitioner misuses his power or misappropriates, siphons or misutilizes the assets of AKS or fails to utilize the assets in AKS’s best interests, the Court would have the power to remove him as the guardian and appoint another person in his place.
- Petitioner shall intimate his appointment to the Director, Department of Social Welfare, GNCTD
- A representative of the Department of Social Welfare, GNCTD, shall visit the residence of the petitioner at least once every quarter, and make a report regarding the condition of AKS, which will be placed before the Director, Department of Social Welfare, GNCTD
- In case any other relative or a next friend of AKS finds that the petitioner is not acting in the best interests of AKS, such person will also have the locus to approach the Court for issuance of appropriate directions and/or for removal of the petitioner as the guardian.
- In case, the petitioner wishes to move AKS to another state or even to another country for the purposes of securing better medical treatment for him, he would approach the Court for necessary permission before undertaking such an exercise.
In view of the above terms, petition was disposed of.[Bhim Singh v. AGM State Bank of India, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 1552, decided on 08-04-2021]
Advocates before the Court:
For the Petitioner: Dhruv Dwivedi, Advocate
For the Respondents: Rajiv Kapur and Akshit Kapur, Advocates for R-1 and R-2.
Ramesh Singh, Senior Advocate, Amicus Curiae with Tara Narula, Advocate