Delhi High Court, which had summoned former Defence Minister George Fernandes for “knowing his mind” to adjudicate a raging possession battle between his wife and brothers, could not get much assistance due to his poor health.
But, during the interaction inside his chamber, Justice V. K. Shali got enough hint that Fernandes was comfortable with the present arrangement for the time being. This meant that wife Leila Kabir can nurse him at his home while brothers— Richard, Aloyscious and Michael continue to get visitation rights.
Dressed in a green kurta, white pyjama and a yellow shawl, 80-year Fernandes suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease was wheeled into the courtroom by wife Kabir at exactly 2:30 p.m.
The judge called in Kabir and the brothers into the chamber separately to see how he reacted in their presence but the judge said in his one-to-one interaction that, Fernandes could not articulate his views coherently and consistently.
“He could not speak a complete sentence and his speech was more in the nature of murmer from which no inference could be drawn as to what Fernandes wanted”, the judge said.
Fernandes’s attendant Durga was permitted to speak to him in Hindi and the response was only a nod “which was inadequate to reflect his mind clearly”, the court said.
“The court is of firm opinion that so far as Fernandes is concerned on account of his ailment he is not able to articulate and express his views which may help the court in deciding the application in the instant case.”
The brothers had moved the court alleging that Kabir was denying them “unfettered access” to Fernandes and was not taking care of him properly.