After 30-year battle, SC grants Faridkot Maharaja’s properties to daughters

Updated on Sep 08, 2022 12:00 PM IST

With the maharaja’s will being declared ‘null and void’, the Maharawal Khewaji Trust will be dissolved 33 years after it came into existence.

The ruling ends a 30-year fight for the inheritance. (ANI) PREMIUM
The ruling ends a 30-year fight for the inheritance. (ANI)
By, Faridkot

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the Punjab and Haryana high court’s order awarding the majority share of the estate of the erstwhile maharaja of Faridkot, Sir Harinder Singh Brar, estimated to be worth 20,000 crore, to his daughters –Amrit Kaur and the late Deepinder Kaur – and dissolved the Maharawal Khewaji Trust, which was looking after the properties.

The ruling ends a 30-year fight for the inheritance.

A three-judge bench, comprising chief justice of India (CJI) Uday Umesh Lalit, justice S Ravindra Bhat and justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, upheld the high court’s order: “Having dealt with the challenges raised in the petition, we direct that all reports statements of accounts and other documents, lodged with this court, pursuant to interim directions issued by this court, shall immediately be sent to the trial court (Chandigarh). The Trust shall be entitled to run the charitable Hospital only up to September 30, whereafter all the aspects of management, finance and other control including the need for appointment of a receiver shall be subject to such orders as may be passed by the court executing the decree in the instant matters.”

It added: “Rest of the properties in the hands of the Trust or any other persons shall be maintained in the same form by all the concerned, till appropriate orders are passed by the court executing the decree passed in the instant matters.”

The bench had reserved its orders on July 28.

The will claimed that as his eldest daughter, Amrit Kaur, had married against his wishes, the maharaja had disinherited her. Curiously, the existence of the will became known only after the maharaja’s death in 1989. (HT Illustration)
The will claimed that as his eldest daughter, Amrit Kaur, had married against his wishes, the maharaja had disinherited her. Curiously, the existence of the will became known only after the maharaja’s death in 1989. (HT Illustration)

With the maharaja’s will being declared ‘null and void’, the Maharawal Khewaji Trust will be dissolved 33 years after it came into existence.

The trust’s chief executive officer Jagir Singh Sran said, “We have received the orders and those are against us. As per SC directions now a trial court at Chandigarh will distribute the properties to Maharaja’s decendents.”

Crowned maharaja at the age of three in 1918, Harinder Singh Brar was the last ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Faridkot. Brar and his wife Narinder Kaur had three daughters – Amrit Kaur, Deepinder Kaur and Maheepinder Kaur –and a son, Tikka Harmohinder Singh.

After his son’s death in a road accident in 1981, the maharaja slipped into a depression and his will was executed around seven to eight months later, and the trust formed to look after the royal properties after him. While the Maharaja’s wife and mother did not know about the trust, Deepinder Kaur and Maheepinder Kaur were appointed the chairperson and vice-chairperson of the trust.

The will claimed that as his eldest daughter, Amrit Kaur, had married against his wishes, the maharaja had disinherited her. Curiously, the existence of the will became known only after the maharaja’s death in 1989.

Maheepinder, a spinster, died in Shimla in 2001 in mysterious circumstances. Amrit Kaur, who is based in Chandigarh, filed a civil suit in the local district court, challenging the will in 1992. Her contention was that her father could not have legally bequeathed his entire estate to the trust because it was ancestral property governed by the law applying to a Hindu joint family. She also questioned the authenticity of the will.

In 2013, the Chandigarh district court declared the will, which had entitled Maharawal Khewaji Trust as the caretaker of the properties, as illegal and void, and had granted inheritance to Brar’s two daughters— Amrit and Deepinder.

Deepinder, whose children now control the Trust died in 2018. In June 2020, the high court upheld a Chandigarh court’s order , awarding majority share in the 20,000-crore property to Amrit Kaur, who challenged the will in 1992, and the late Deepinder Kaur.

In July 2020, the Maharawal Khewaji Trust moved the SC against the Punjab and Haryana high court order declaring Brar’s will dated June 1, 1982, as ‘forged’ in its favour. In August 2020, the apex court ordered status quo till the judgment, allowing the Trust to continue as caretaker.

Get Latest India Newsalong with Latest Newsand Top Headlinesfrom India and around the world.

Enjoy unlimited digital access with HT Premium

Subscribe Now to continue reading
freemium
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Parteek Singh Mahal is a multimedia correspondent based at Faridkot in Punjab. He covers medical education, politics and Punjab police.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, December 05, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals