Court summons Fernandes as family spat turns ugly

Court summons Fernandes as family spat turns ugly New Delhi: The custody battle over George Fernandes today took a new turn with the Delhi High Court asking his wife Leila Kabir to produce him before it on July 5 to know his mind.

The court directed Kabir to produce the 80-year-old ailing 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 V K Shali said directing Kabir to present Fernandes in the court at 4 PM 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 union 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, Krishna 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 today 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 tussle between Kabir and Fernandes' brothers had led to an uproarious scene yesterday outside the leader's official residence in the capital.

Both brothers accompanied by Fernandes' companion Jaya Jaitley had come to the 3-Krishna Menon Marg residence to collect books, furniture and paintings which they claimed belonged to them. However, they were stopped by police from entering the residence as the caretaker of the house S D Singh objected to their entry.

Fernandes' 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 has alleged that the suit was filed at the instance of Jayam 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.