High Court resolves royal property dispute



Shimla: An age-old property dispute involving royal family of the erstwhile state of Sirmaur has finally been settled amicably in the High Court of Himachal Pradesh here on Wednesday. The dispute, which was the oldest case pending in the H.P. High Court for the last 23 years ended with a compromise among the parties. The dispute pertained to the estate of erstwhile ruler of princely state of Sirmaur Maharaja Amar Parkash, who died in 1933. His eldest son Maharaja Rajendra Prakash succeeded him by the rule of primogeniture and impartibility of estate.

After the independence of India in 1947, British paramountcy lapsed and Sirmaur state acceded to the dominion of India. Consequently, upon this merger the properties held by Maharaja Rajendra Prakash as a ruler were divided into two categories being the state properties and private properties. Maharaja Rajendra Prakash became absolute owner of the private properties vested in him as ruler of Sirmour state as recognized by the President of India under Article 363 of the Constitution of India. Maharaja Rajendra Prakash died in the year 1964 after which his properties devolved upon his heirs i.e. his mother Rajmata Mandalsa Devi, his wives Maharani Durga Devi and Maharani Indira Devi and his daughters Raj Kumari Nalini Devi and Maharani Padmini Devi of Jaipur. Rajmata Mandalsa Devi, Maharani Durga Devi, Maharani Indira Devi and Raj Kumari Nalini Devi have since expired. The agricultural properties of Maharaja Rajendra Prakash falling in Uttarakhand state have already been divided between Maharani Padmini Devi and Maharaj Kumar Udai Prakash, adopted son of Maharani Durga Devi with a compromise deed. The suit was filed in the High Court in the year 1987. Since then the suit was taken up for consideration from time to time. The matter was sought to be resolved through mediation, however, all the parties didn’t agree to the same.

But, ultimately the case has been disposed of as not maintainable by Hon’ble Justice V.K. Sharma, whereas compromise has been arrived at between the parties in another connected suit involving the properties of Maharaja Rajendra Prakash and Maharani Prem Lata Devi, sister of Maharaja Rajendra Prakash. This has put an end to several litigations pending in various courts in Himachal Pradesh as well as in Uttarakhand.

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