The Bombay high court (HC) on Friday suggested that Vijaypat Singhania, chairperson emeritus of the Raymond Group, and his grandchildren, who are embroiled in a property dispute, consider mediation to sort out their differences and “rebuild relations”.
The HC was hearing an appeal filed by Singhania’s 18-year-old grandson Raivathari against an order passed by a single bench of the HC in August last year, allowing Singhania to transfer 37% shareholdings of the company.
Raivathari and his two sisters filed the suit in February last year, challenging the agreement signed by their parents – Madhupati and Anuradha – on December 30, 1998, giving up their and their children’s rights to the ancestral properties. Raivathari and his sisters have sought annulment of the agreement on the grounds that it was prima facie illegal as it did not have their consent and it was their right to have a share in the ancestral property under the Hindu United Family (HUF) law.
Justice Gautam Patel of the HC, on August 21, denied interim relief to the siblings and instead allowed Singhania to transfer his shareholdings to his youngest son ,Gautam.
On Friday, senior advocate Iqbal Chagla, appearing for Raivathari and his siblings, objected to justice Patel’s order.
Senior advocate VD Tulzapurkar, counsel for Singhania, told the HC his grandchildren cannot claim rights by virtue of their birth, as the property was not merely an inherited HUF property Singhania had worked to make it grow significantly. He told the HC the grandchildren were litigating at the behest of their parents, and the grandchildren shared an amicable relationship with Singhania till the suit was filed. “It is unlikely that they did not know of this arrangement for 17 long years. Instead, they have been prompted and inspired by their parents Madhupati and Anuradha,” advocate Tulzapurkar said.
Taking note of the argument, a bench comprising justices VM Kanade and Revati Mohite Dere suggested the family could consider mediation.
The HC has scheduled the appeal for arguments on final disposal on April 6.