In an interesting development in the legal battle surrounding the trusteeship of the Lilavati Hospital, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday made an informal suggestion to the Mehta brothers that they try and settle the dispute out of court.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Kishore Mehta which alleged that his brother Vijay and sister Rekha Haresh Seth, who is also a trustee, had forged documents (minute book, resolution and three letters); and based on these forged documents Vijay was proclaiming himself as a permanent trustee.
During the hearing, Justice JN Patel orally suggested to the counsels of Kishore and Vijay Mehta that they should make the brothers sit across the table and resolve the dispute. Asking the brothers to forget their egos as quarreling would not help, Justice Patel stressed that the brothers should resolve the family matter amicably.
However, the counsels pointed out to the court that they had tried, but the out of court settlement was not possible at this stage. Kishore and Vijay Mehta, sons of the late Kirtilal Manilal Mehta, who formed the Lilavati Kirtilal Mehta Medical Trust in 1978 which manages the hospital, are involved in a complex legal dispute against each other and are also involving their respective families.
The division bench of Justice JN Patel and Justice Roshan Dalvi on Wednesday directed the Chief Examiner of Documents to verify the authenticity of the disputed documents concerning Lilavati Hospital.
Last August, Kishore had filed the petition seeking that the documents on which the signature was disputed be verified by experts to ascertain its authenticity. According to him the documents were forged in 1995.
On August 23, HC had asked the Chief State Examiner of Documents to scrutinize the documents and verify their authenticity. Following the order, the family had sent the disputed documents along with other documents for verification.
However, the Chief State Examiner of Documents wrote a letter to the HC on November 7, 2006 asking which signature of Kishore was disputed.
The HC on Wednesday clarified that the Chief State Examiner of Documents should verify the disputed documents mentioned in the FIR – the signature in the resolution dated July 22, 1995, the signatures on the minutes book for the period from March 31, 1993 to March 31, 1994 and three letters which bore the signatures of Kishore and his wife Charu.
Kishore had approached the Girgaon court in May 2006 alleging the forgery of documents. The Girgaon court had directed the police to lodge an FIR and investigate. On July 24, the Mumbai Police had ordered Vijay to submit all relevant papers to establish his control on the hospital. Vijay then approached the Bombay High Court in July to quash the complaint.