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Ours is a joint family, though we live separately. We have a shop that is in the name of my grandmother (self-acquired in 2000). My father passed away in 2012. My grandmother suffers from dementia and doesn’t remember much. I have apprehensions that my uncles are going to sell her property by taking my grandmother to the registrar’s office on some pretext (or maybe they already have). Is there any way I can stop them from selling the property on the grounds that my grandmother is of unsound mind? Do I need to file a petition for that? Or can we register any claims to property which can prevent them from selling without our consent? If they have already sold it, can it be challenged now?

—Name withheld on request

 

During the lifetime of your grandmother, you cannot raise any claims to the property, especially since the shop is her self-acquired property. Therefore, in the given facts of your case, you will have to first file an application for appointment of a guardian before the court having the appropriate jurisdiction. This application should be filed during her lifetime. In this application, you will have to first prove her incapacity to take decisions and then on that grounds seek an interim relief of appointing a suitable person as guardian for her under the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, so that the assets of your grandmother could be protected. The person so appointed by the court as guardian shall act as trustee and guardian of her property.

Also, once the application is filed, you can register Lis Pendens with the sub-registrar’s office so that you can easily challenge any sale if done without your knowledge.

As regards your query whether the sale can be challenged, if your uncles have already sold the shop, you can go for a search in the sub-registrar’s office and apply for a certified copy of the sale agreement.

Thereafter, you can use the sale agreement as a part of your proceedings. You can challenge such sale in the aforesaid application that may be filed for appointment of a guardian.

Aradhana Bhansali is partner, Rajani Associates.

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