30 years on, HC puts end to succession battle : The Tribune India

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30 years on, HC puts end to succession battle

Death of last ruler of erstwhile Faridkot state in 1989 had led to dispute among family members

30 years on, HC puts end to succession battle


Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 1

More than 30 years after the last ruler of erstwhile Faridkot State Maharaja Colonel Sir Harinder Singh Brar died, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has put an end to dispute relating to his succession.

In its 547-page judgment, the High Court ruled that the will dated June 1, 1982, allegedly executed by him, was forged, fabricated and shrouded in suspicious circumstances and the Trust created thereunder was also unfounded. The dispute in the heritage case reportedly involves property valued at about Rs20,000 crore at one point of time.

Raja Harinder Singh Brar had three daughters – Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Rajkumari Deepinder Kaur and Rajkumari Maheepinder Kaur and one son, Tikka Harmohinder Singh. He was succeeded by his three daughters, as his son Tikka Harmohinder Singh died earlier to his death.

The Bench, during the course of hearing, was told that his father, Maharaja Brij Inder Singh, was survived by widow Maharani Mohinder Kaur, Harinder Singh Brar himself and Kanwar Manjit Inder Singh, who was succeeded by Tikka Bharat Inder Singh, Rajkumari Devinder Kaur and thereafter Rajkumari Heminder Kaur.

Soon after Raja Harinder Singh Brar died on October 16, 1989, the board of Trustees and the executors assembled at Moti Mahal Qila Mubarik in Faridkot, where Sardar Umrao Singh Dhaliwal read over the contents of the will. It was later proclaimed before a huge gathering that Raja Harinder Singh Brar had executed a registered will bequeathing his entire properties in favour of Maharwal Khewaji Trust with definite board of Trustees.

The board of Trustees subsequently allegedly took possession, control and management of the entire estate of Raja Harinder Singh Brar with the assent of the executors. The properties located in various revenue estates were mutated in the name of the Trust. The urban properties were also transferred in the name of the Trust.

The properties include Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi; Faridkot House, Diplomatic Enclave 1-Naya Marg, New Delhi; Okhla industrial plot; Mashobra House; Riviera Apartment, The Mall, Delhi; hotel plot, Chandigarh; Raj Mahal, Faridkot; Qila Mubarik; stables, Faridkot; and Surajgarh Fort, Mani Majra.

Manjit Inder Singh’s son Bharatinder Singh also staked claim to the property citing the “rule of primogeniture”, according to which property rights are granted to firstborn son or eldest living male blood relative.

Justice Raj Mohan Singh, however, dismissed the claim on the basis of primogeniture, while adding the appellant would succeed to proportionate share of late Maharani Mohinder Kaur on the basis of the registered will dated March 29, 1990, executed by her. Justice Raj Mohan Singh made it clear that the parties would succeed to the estate of the late Raja as per The Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

Amrit Kaur’s plea, claiming the ownership of the entire estate left by the Harinder Singh Brar on the basis of The Raja of Faridkot’s Estate Act, 1948, also failed to find favour with the Bench.

“The claim with regard to succession to the estate of late Raja Harinder Singh on the basis of The Raja of Faridkot’s Estate Act, 1948 is not sustainable,” the Bench ruled.


legal fight began in 1992

  • 1989: Maharaja Harinder Singh dies; will made public
  • 1992: His daughter Amrit Kaur moves court
  • 2013: The Court divides property between Amrit Kaur and Deepinder Kaur, being the two daughters of Harinder Singh Brar.
  • 2018: The first appellate upheld the 2013 judgment in the Faridkot heritage case, resulting in the filing of the appeal.

Properties

The value of the property, at one point of time, was assessed at Rs20,000 crore. Available information suggests, it includes Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg, New Delhi; Faridkot House, Diplomatic Enclave 1-Naya Marg, New Delhi; Okhla industrial plot; Mashobra House; Riviera Apartment, The Mall, Delhi; hotel plot, Chandigarh; Raj Mahal, Faridkot; Qila Mubarik; stables, Faridkot; and Surajgarh Fort, Mani Majra.

Family tree

  • Wife: Rani Narinder Kaur (died before the Maharaja).
  • Daughter: Amrit Kaur married an IPS officer and has three children. She was left out of the will in 1982. She sought legal recourse.
  • Daughter: Deepinder Kaur settled near Kolkata, she married a royal, Sadey Chand Mehtab.
  • Daughter: Maheepinder Kaur, a single, died at Mashobra in 2001.
  • Son: Tikka Harmohinder Singh died in 1981.
  • He was a bachelor.

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