HC allows sale of flat to meet bedridden woman’s expenses

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Bombay high court has allowed the sale of a flat at Cuffe Parade to meet medical and other expenses of a woman bedridden for 14 years after suffering irreversible brain damage.

The direction by a bench of Justices Burgess Colabawalla and Abhay Ahuja came on a petition by 59-year-old Anjali Mehta’s two guardians, including brother-in-law Hormuz. City civil court directed them to move HC, as it did not have jurisdiction to allow alienation of property.

Admitted to a city hospital in October 2006 for chest pain, Anjali suffered a cardiac arrest and then anoxic brain affectation, which affected her mental capacity. She requires nurses and attendants to look after her round-the-clock.

In September 2015, her husband, as guardian and manager, was permitted to negotiate sale of the flat, but before it could be concluded his health deteriorated. The couple then moved to a flat at Commonwealth Building on Madame Cama Road, where Hormuz also lives. Neville died due to cancer in April 2016. The petitioners were appointed guardians and managers of Anjali’s person and property in August 2017.

The petitioners’ advocate, Jehangir Jeejeebhoy, said Anjali had no money in her bank account to meet daily medical and other expenses, including maintenance of properties. She is sole and absolute owner of the flat at Pallonji Mansion and properties she inherited from her late parents. A person has offered Rs 19.5 crore for the flat, and is willing to pay related charges, but the sale transaction should be completed by December 31.

The judges noted that the petitioners spent over Rs 1 core from Anjali’s account to look after her and her properties from April 2017-October 2020. They have themselves also infused nearly Rs 26 lakh in her account to meet her expenses. The judges said it was clear Anjali was incapable of taking care of herself. “In these circumstances, considering totality of facts, it will be in the interest of Anjali if permission is granted for sale of Pallonji Mansion flat,’’ they said in their November 11 order.

They directed the petitioners to invest proceeds “to earn optimum returns and to utilize the money for Anjali’s proper upkeep and fulfilling her needs and requirements”. They have to file a detailed report a month after sale, stating what they have done with the proceeds, and quarterly reports on expenses for maintenance of Anjali and her properties.

The judges said the flat should not be sold for less than Rs 19.5 crore, as mentioned in the petition. Since Pallonji Mansion is on collector’s land, they requested the collector, through assistant government pleader Jyoti Chavan, to consider granting an NOC to the sale before December 2.

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