Vijay Ramachandra Salgaonkar vs The State Service














Original Publishing Date: 17th July 2021


Author: Minal Parab


“Patients in coma have complete failure of the arousal system with no spontaneous eye opening and are unable to be awakened by application of vigorous sensory stimulation…Regarding vegetative step, it is stated that in such a state, there is complete absence of behavioural evidence for self or environmental awareness. Patients are awake but have no awareness.”

This is a case about a husband demanding to be guardian of his wife who is in a vegetative state because of dementia. He appeals to the court for making provisions for guardianship of mentally sick persons who are not minor.

The couple are old with no children. The wife suffers from vascular dementia with diabetes mellitus and hyper tension, and is unable to care for herself or her property. This court petition brings to notice that there is no provision for guardianship under the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.

According to Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, a person can be a guardian only to a minor. But the wife’s health has been deteriorating recently. She cannot make independent bodily movements, nor sign legal documents.

The case brings to light inadequate legal provisions made for patients as well as caregivers. The 73-year-old husband who is the primary caregiver of his wife requests the court to give him permission to handle legal matters, including property on behalf of his wife.

This is not a new issue; rather similar incidents are brought to court by many caregivers throughout the years. Therefore, the judicial system needs to re-evaluate its laws to support and give proper solutions to caregivers.

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