New Delhi, Sep 24: JD (U) Rajya Sabha MP Mahendra Prasad, popularly known as 'King Mahendra', has found himself in a peculiar legal tangle wherein a woman has knocked at the doors of the Supreme Court seeking to live with him claiming to be his legally wedded wife.
The woman, who has been residing with 79-year-old 7-time parliamentarian from Bihar for the last 45 years, has challenged the Delhi High Court order directing her to live separately from King Mahindra, one of the richest MPs in India, for a period of four weeks.
The 'disowned' son of the MP had moved the high court and claimed that his father, along with the woman, had illegally confined his mother who is Prasad's actual wife.
The high court had asked the woman to stay away from Prasad, who has several pharmaceutical companies and other businesses, till the conclusion of investigation into the allegations that she had illegally confined the legally wedded wife of the parliamentarian.
The case came up for hearing on Tuesday before an apex court bench headed by Justice R Banumathi where senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the woman, said that the high court has followed a "completely illegal procedure" in the case and even the MP want to live with her.
Claiming that the woman is the "legally wedded wife" of Prasad, Rohatgi said, "Why should the husband and wife live separately? There is democracy in the country".
Terming it a "peculiar case", he questioned the probe being conducted in the matter and said that high court ought not to have passed such order as it was dealing with a habeas corpus (a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a court) petition filed by the MP's son.
"You (petitioner) have obviously lived as husband and wife for a long time but that does not mean that you are husband and wife," the bench, also comprising justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, told Rohatgi.
The bench refused to interfere in the matter at this stage and said that the woman can approach the high court in the event of any necessity or clarification.
The senior lawyer told the bench that sum and substance of the high court order is that "the husband and wife should live separately".
However, the bench observed, "It (status report of police filed in the high court) says that the other lady (mother of disowned son) is his legally wedded wife. Statement of the petitioner before us is also recorded".
Questioning the high court's order, Rohatgi said how can an investigation be done without any FIR.
He claimed that Prasad had "disowned" his son, who had filed the petition before the high court, and it was his ploy to get the property of the parliamentarian which runs into thousands of crores.
He said Prasad was not well and it was necessary that he should live with the petitioner before the top court.
When the bench said that high court has asked her to live separately for a period of four weeks, Rohatgi said, "Why? On what basis? Has some crime been committed by this woman?".
He said high court has also noted in its order that Prasad, who is suffering from dementia as per the report of a medical board of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, could not recollect the names of any of his family members except the petitioner before the top court.
Rohatgi said the MP has been living with both the women for 45 years like a family.
When the bench pointed out that high court has passed the order after all the parties agreed to it, the senior lawyer said there was no consent regarding the issue as to who should not live with the MP.
"Interest of justice demands that both the husband and wife (petitioner before apex court) should live together," he said, adding that the woman also hold a diplomatic passport in which it is mentioned that she is the wife of the parliamentarian.
"Suppose even if they are not wife and husband but they wish to stay together, how can the police or court say no," he said.
However, the bench said, "Better you go back to the high court. The high court must have seen some documents which have weighed in the mind of the judges".
At the fag end of hearing, Rohatgi said where should the woman go now as she has no place to live.
"Should she check-in to a hotel".