New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought the response of Leila Kabir, wife of former Defence Minister George Fernandes, on a petition by his close political associate Jaya Jaitly seeking permission to visit the ailing 82-year-old leader.

A bench of justices P Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi issued notice on the limited question of "visitation rights" sought by Jaitly.

The Apex Court granted two weeks time to the respondent to file her response but refrained from staying the Delhi High Court order as sought by the counsel for the petitioner.

The High Court had on April 17 denied permission to Jaitly to visit the ailing leader, while dismissing her plea for implement in the civil suit filed by Fernandes' brothers seeking access to the leader, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

The High Court had said that she had no legal rights to claim visitation rights to the former Samata Party leader.

Jaitly in her plea, before the High Court, had sought permission to visit the ailing leader on the ground that she has been a close political colleague and confidante of Fernandes for more than 30 years and that he required aid and assistance from his old friend.

She had claimed Fernandes should not be deprived of his basic human rights to meet acquaintances and friends.

Her plea was opposed by Fernandes's wife and also his brothers on the ground of locus standi. They had said since she could not assert her legal status, she could not be added as a party.

The High Court's order had come on the petition filed by Fernandes's brothers Richard, Aloysious, Michael and Paul for permanent and mandatory injunction against the former Samata Party leader's wife Leila Kabir and his son Sean, seeking their right to have unrestricted access to Fernandes and to supervise his treatment.

Allowing their plea, the court had also restrained his wife and son from taking Fernandes out of India for treatment on March 16, 2010.

The court had allowed a separate application by the brothers, for conduct of the proceedings on a day-to-day basis, considering the advanced age and ailment of the leader.

The court had also appointed G P Thareja, a retired judge, as court commissioner to hold the proceedings expeditiously.


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