MAHARANI DEEPINDER KAUR (SINCE DECEASED) THROUGH LRS. AND ORS. Versus RAJKUMARI AMRIT KAUR AND ORS.

MAHARANI DEEPINDER KAUR (SINCE DECEASED) THROUGH LRS. AND ORS. Versus RAJKUMARI AMRIT KAUR AND ORS.

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले

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REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NOS.9151-9153 OF 2020
MAHARANI DEEPINDER KAUR (SINCE DECEASED)
THROUGH LRS. AND ORS. …Petitioners
Versus
RAJKUMARI AMRIT KAUR AND ORS. …Respondents
WITH
SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NOS. 10211-10213 OF 2020
(Rajkumari Amrit Kaur @ Amrit Harpal Singh vs. Maharani Deepinder Kaur
(Since Deceased) Represented by LRs. and Ors.)
AND
SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CIVIL) NOS. 11206-11208 OF 2020
(Bharat Inder Singh (Deceased) Through LRs. vs. Maharwal Khewaji Trust
and Ors.)
O R D E R
Uday Umesh Lalit, CJI.
1. These Special Leave Petitions arise out of the common judgment and order
dated 01.06.2020 passed by the High Court1
 in RSA No. 2006 of 2018 (O&M),
RSA No. 1418 of 2018 (O&M) and RSA No. 2176 of 2018 (O&M).
1
 High Court of Punjab & Haryana at Chandigarh.
2
2. The controversy in the instant matters concerns succession to the properties
left behind by Raja Harinder Singh, former ruler of Faridkot State. The
relationship between the parties having not been disputed, the genealogical chart
may be extracted here for facility.
CHART SHOWING GENEALOGY
Maharaja Brijinder Singh (Died in 1918)
 Maharani Mohinder Kaur
 (died on 15.3.1991)
 Raja Harinder Singh Kanwar Manjit Inder Singh
 (Born on 29th January 1915 – (deceased) impleaded as Defendant
 Died on 16th October 1989) No.5 vide order dated 25.9.1993
 Testator (also plaintiff through LRs in CS No.
 4193/21-8-2010
Rani Narinder Kaur
(Wife of Testator) Tikka Bharat Inder Singh Rajkumari Devinder
(died on 19.4.1986) (since deceased) Kaur (Died during
 Pendency of the suit)
 Amrinder Singh Rajkumari Heminder Kaur
Rajkumari Amrit Kaur Maharani Deepinder Rajkumari Maheepinder
(Plaintiff – CS No. Kaur (Died during Kaur (died during
473/23-7-2010) pendency of the RSA) pendency of suit)
 (Defendant No.1) (Defendant No.2)
 Sadhey Chand Mahatab Tikka Harmohinder Singh
 (Died on 13.10.1981)

 Jai Chand Mahtab Nisha Kehr
3. Raja Harinder Singh, as Ruler of Faridkot State, entered into a Covenant
on 05.05.1948 with the Government of India and executed Instrument of
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Accession, as a result of which the area forming part of Faridkot State became
part of the Indian Union. PEPSU Covenant (Exh. D-6) entered into by Rulers
including said Raja Harinder Singh inter alia provided as under:-
“Article VI
(1) The Ruler of each coventing State shall, as soon as may be practicable,
and in any event not later than the 20th of August, 1948, make over the
administration of his State to the Raj Pramukh and thereupon-
(a)All rights, authority and jurisdiction belonging to the Ruler which
appertain, or are incidental to the Government of the Covenanting
State shall vest in the Union and shall hereafter be exercisable only
as provided by this Covenant or by the Constitution to be framed
thereunder.
(b)All duties and obligations of the Rulers pertaining or incidental to
the Government of the Covenanting State shall devolve on the
Union and shall be discharged by it;
(c)All the assets and liabilities of the Covenanting State shall be the
assets and liabilities of the Union; and
(d)The military forces, if any, of the Covenanting State shall become
the military forces of the Union.
… … …
Article XII
(1) The Ruler of each Covenanting State shall be entitled to the full
ownership, use and enjoyment of all private properties (as distinct
from State properties) belonging to him on the date of his making over
the administration of that State to the Raj Pramukh.
(2) He shall furnish to the Raj Pramukh before the 20th day of September,
1948, and inventory of all the immovable properties, securities and
cash balances held by him as such private property.
(3) If any dispute arises as to whether any item of property is the private
property of the ruler or State property, it shall be referred to such
person as the Government of India nominate in consultation with the
Raj Pramukh and the decision of that person shall be final and binding
on all parties concerned.
Provided that no such dispute shall be so referable after the 31st day of
December, 1948.
… … …
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Article XIV
(1) The succession, according to law and custom, to the Gaddi of each
Covenanting State, and to the personal rights, privileges, dignities and
titles of the Ruler thereof is hereby guaranteed.
(2) Every question of disputed succession in regard to a Covenanting
State which arises after the inauguration of the Union shall be decided
by the Council of Rulers after referring it to a bench consisting of all
the available Judges of the High Court of the Union and in accordance
with the opinion given by such bench.
No enquiry shall be made by or under the authority of the
Union, and no proceedings shall lie in any Court in the Union against
the Ruler of the Covenanting State, whether in a personal capacity or
otherwise, in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by him
or under his authority during the period of his administration of that
State.”
 Schedule-I to the Covenant stipulated amounts of Privy Purses and the
amount with regard to Faridkot was Rs.3,81,400/-.
4. Like other Covenants which were entered into around that time, the
administration of the State and the rights, authority and jurisdiction of the then
ruler pertaining to or incidental to the Government of the Covenanting State
vested in the Union. The concerned ruler was entitled to the full ownership, use
and enjoyment of private properties which were specified. The succession to the
Gaddi of each Covenanting State and the personal rights, dignities and titles
would, however, be according to law and custom; and Article XIV guaranteed
such succession.
5. Though, in terms of Article VI of the Covenant, the administration of the
State was made over and all rights, authority and jurisdiction belonging to the
Ruler stood vested in the Union of India. On 18.08.1948 “The Raja Faridkot
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Estate Act, 1948” was enacted by the Raja, declaring that the Estate of said Ruler
would devolve to his male successor.
6. In the present matters, we are concerned with succession to the properties
which were shown to be private properties in the Covenant. Raja Harinder Singh
was blessed with three daughters and a son named Tikka Harmohinder Singh,
who, unfortunately predeceased said Raja Harinder Singh without leaving any
heir or representative.
7. Raja Harinder Singh (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Ruler’) executed a
Will, soon after the accession was complete. The Will was executed on
11.03.1950. This Will (hereinafter referred to as ‘the First Will’) specified certain
bank accounts and amounts lying in those accounts as well as four flats at Rohtak
Road, Delhi, and sought to bequeath said specified properties to all three
daughters in equal shares.
8. The Ruler then executed the Second Will on 22.05.1952 which again dealt
with the properties which were specified in the First Will. It, however, stated
that the testator did not wish to leave any property in favour of the eldest daughter
Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. It specified certain properties and stated that the
properties would devolve upon the other two daughters namely Rajkumari
Deepinder Kaur and Rajkumari Maheepinder Kaur in equal shares. It appears
that the eldest daughter had married against the wishes of the father, which
perhaps was the reason why said recitals found place in the Second Will.
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9. Three years thereafter, a registered Settlement was executed by the Ruler
on 01.04.1955 in London which dealt with certain bank accounts held in
Grindlays Bank Limited, London. This Settlement, however, stated that the
eldest daughter Rajkumari Amrit Kaur would not be entitled to receive any part
of the income until she attained the age of 25 years or judicially separated from
her husband. Thus, unlike the Second Will, the Settlement dated 01.04.1955 had
not disinherited the eldest daughter.
10. The aforestated three documents were executed before the enactment of
the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, Section 5 of which Act is to the following
effect:-
“5. Act not to apply to certain properties.
This Act shall not apply to―
(i) any property succession to which is regulated by the Indian
Succession Act, 1925 (39 of 1925), by reason of the provisions
contained in section 21 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (43 of
1954);
(ii) any estate which descends to a single heir by the terms of any
covenant or agreement entered into by the Ruler of any Indian State
with the Government of India or by the terms of any enactment
passed before the commencement of this Act;
(iii) the Valiamma Thampuran Kovilagam Estate and the Palace
Fund administered by the Palace Administration Board by reason
of the powers conferred by Proclamation (IX of 1124) dated 29th
June, 1949, promulgated by the Maharaja of Cochin.”
11. The Ruler died on 16.10.1989 and during the Bhog Ceremony held on
26.10.1989, a Third Will dated 01.06.1982 allegedly executed by the Ruler was
read out and a copy of the said Third Will was handed over to the eldest daughter
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Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. By the time the Third Will was allegedly executed, the
only son of the Ruler had already expired on 13.10.1981. The Third Will
purportedly declared that the entire property left behind by the Ruler would be
inherited by a Trust known as “Maharwal Khewaji Trust” (‘the Trust’, for short),
trustees of which would be Rajkumari Deepinder Kaur and Rajkumari
Maheepinder Kaur, serving members of Board of Administration of the personal
estate of the Ruler known as “His Highness Personal Estates of Faridkot” and one
member of Maharani Mohinder Kaur’s family etc. The document also dealt with
the functioning of the Board of Trustees and stipulated some conditions.
12. Kanwar Manjit Inder Singh, younger brother of the Ruler filed Civil Suit
which was later renumbered as Civil Suit No. 4193/21-08-2010 claiming inter
alia that by Rule of Primogeniture said Kanwar Manjit Inder Singh was entitled
to the Estate left behind by the Ruler.
 Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, the eldest daughter, who, according to the Third
Will dated 01.06.1982 was not given any interest or share in the property, also
filed Civil Suit which was later renumbered as Civil Suit No.473/23-7-2010. The
Suit, as initially filed, sought decree of declaration that the plaintiff-Rajkumari
Amrit Kaur was owner to the extent of 1/3rd share in the properties left behind by
the Ruler with a consequential relief of joint possession along with her two sisters.
Apart from her two sisters, the Trust along with its Trustees were also parties to
the Suit. By an application dated 18.11.1993 amendment to the Plaint was sought
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incorporating the relief regarding decree of declaration that the alleged Third Will
dated 01.06.1982 executed by the Ruler was invalid, void and unenforceable.
A common written statement was filed on behalf of the Trust and two
sisters of the plaintiff.
13. Both the Suits were taken-up together and the Trial Court framed following
issues for consideration:-
1. Whether the plaintiff is entitled to succeed to the extent of 1/3rd share
of the suit property along with defendants no.1 and 2 being daughters
of deceased under the provisions of Hindu Succession Act and the
plaintiff thus is owner of 1/3rd share of the suit property? OPP
2. Whether in the alternative, the plaintiff is entitled to succeed to the
entire estate of her father being eldest surviving child? OPP
3. Whether in the alternative, the plaintiff is entitled to succeed as sole
owner under Raja of Faridkot Estate Act, 1948 (Act No.5 of 1948)
being senior most living child? OPP
4. Whether the property mentioned in Annexure A1 is joint family and
ancestral coparcenary property and late Raja Harinder Singh had no
right to alienate in any manner? OPP
5. Whether Raja Harinder Singh was governed by Hindu Succession
Act which had abrogated custom and plaintiff and defendatns No.1
and 2 inherited the property in dispute in equal share according to
Hindu Succession Act and plaintiff has become owner of 1/3rd share
of the suit property? OPP
6. Whether the deceased late Raja Harinder Singh of Faridkot executed
a valid Will dated 1-6-1982? If so, what is its effect? OPD
7. Whether the deceased Raja Harinder Singh executed a valid Trust
known as Faridkot Ruling Family Housing Trust with the plaintiff
and the defendant No.1 and deceased defendant no.2 being sole
beneficiaries? If so, what is its effect? OPD
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8. Whether the defendants are liable to render accounts for the period
they have been managing and receiving income from the properties
left by the deceased late Raja Harinder Singh? OPD
9. Whether the suit is bad for non-joinder or misjoinder of parties? If
so, what is its effect? OPD
10. Whether the suit is not property valued for the purpose of Court fee
and jurisdiction? If so, what is its effect? OPD
11. Whether this Court has no territorial jurisdiction to try the suit? OPD
12. Whether the Trust known as “Maharwal Khewaji Trust” is a valid
legal entity? If so, what is its effect? OPD
13. Whether the family of Raja Harinder Singh and defendant no.6
Kanwar Manjit Inder Singh in matters of inheritance and succession
is governed by Rule of Primogeniture and in the absence of male
lineal child according to custom, brother succeeded to the estate?
OPD-6.
14. Whether Kanwar Manjit Inder Singh defendant no.6 inherited all the
immovable and movable properties of Late Raja Harinder Singh
under the law of Primogeniture? OPD-6.
15. Whether according to Article 14 of the covenants of Pepsu to which
late Raja Harinder Singh was signatory, succession was according to
law and custom to the Gaddi of each Covenanting States was
guaranteed and according to which plaintiff under custom is entitled
to inheritance to the estate of Raja Harinder Singh under rule of
Primogeniture and the female heirs have no right to succeed to the
property of late Raja Harinder Singh according to custom and rule
of Primogeniture? OPD-6.
16. Relief.”
14. Both the Suits were disposed of by the Trial Court vide its judgment and
order dated 25.07.2013. The principal question posed by the Trial Court was
regarding the validity of the Third Will and after considering the entirety of the
evidence, the Trial Court found said Third Will not to be a genuine document due
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to a large number of suspicious circumstances which were also individually dealt
with by the Trial Court. The Trial Court then considered whether the Rule of
Primogeniture was applicable to the properties left behind by the Ruler or whether
the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 would be applicable. The case
set-up by Kanwar Manjit Inder Singh was not accepted but the claim made by
Rajkumari Amrit Kaur was accepted. The conclusion drawn by the Trial Court
was as under:-
“91. As an upshot of my above discussion on the above issues, suit
of the plaintiff Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur is hereby partly dismissed
and partly decreed with costs and the Will dated 1-6-1982 is hereby
declared as null and void, not binding upon the rights of plaintiff
Amrit Kaur. The plaintiff Amrit Kaur is entitled to joint possession
to the extent of 1/2(half) share with defendant no.1 Maharani
Deepinder Kaur qua the properties fully detailed and described in
Annexure A1, except the properties which have been acquired by
any State Government or Central Government. Trust which was
constituted on the basis of the alleged Will is hereby declared as nonexistent. The defendants are also restrained from alienating,
mortgaging, transferring, leasing, encumbering or exchanging the
suit property as fully detailed and described in Annexure A1.
Annexure A1 be treated as part of decree. Suit being maintained by
plaintiff Kanwar Manjit Inder Singh through his legal heir is hereby
dismissed with no order as to costs. Separate decree sheets be
prepared and copy of this judgment be placed in the consolidated
suit. File be consigned to record room. Compliance be made.”
15. It must be stated that Rajkumari Maheepinder Kaur had expired on
26.07.2001, when the matter was still pending before the Trial Court. Said
Rajkumari Maheepinder Kaur was unmarried and died without leaving any heir
or successor apart from her two sisters who were already before the court.
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16. Aggrieved by the decision of the Trial Court, Rajkumari Deepinder Kaur,
the Trust and the other Trustees filed C.A. Nos.1046 of 2013 and 480 of 2017
while Bharat Inder Singh son of Kanwar Manjit Inder Singh preferred C.A.
Nos.1054 of 2013 and 1062 of 2013 in the court of Additional District Judge,
Chandigarh.
 Said appeals were heard together and disposed of by a common judgment
dated 05.02.2018 by the Lower Appellate Court which did not find any ground to
interfere with the findings recorded by the Trial Court. It, therefore, dismissed
the appeals as well as cross-objections preferred by the concerned parties.
17. The parties being aggrieved, preferred RSA No.2006 of 2018 (O&M),
RSA No.1418 of 2018 (O&M) and RSA No.2176 of 2018 (O&M) in the High
Court which were dealt with by the High Court by its common judgment and
order, which is presently under challenge.
18. The High Court framed following points for deciding the appeals preferred
before it.
“35. Before deliberating upon the controversy involved in these
appeals, I would like to consider the following points for deciding the
appeals finally:-
(1) Whether The Raja of Faridkot' Estate Act 1948 is a valid
enactment and is applicable for succession to the Estate of Raja by
the plaintiff (Rajkumari Amrit Kaur)?
(2) Whether Law of Primogeniture is applicable in the succession of
Estate of deceased Raja Harinder Singh?
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(3) Whether Raja Harinder Singh executed a valid Will dated
01.06.1982 and Maharwal Khewaji Trust constituted thereunder is a
legally constituted Trust?
(4) Whether Civil Suit No.4193 dated 21.08.2010/04.04.1992 titled
'Kanwar Manjit Inder Singh through LR vs. Maharani Deepinder
Kaur and others' is maintainable?
(5). Whether Civil Suit No.437 dated 23.07.2010/15.10.1992 titled
'Rajkumari Amrit Kaur vs. Maharani Deepinder Kaur and others is
maintainable?”
19. The High Court held that the Raja of Faridkot’s Estate Act, 1948 was not
a valid enactment and would not be applicable for succession to the estate of the
Ruler. It was also held that the Rule of Primogeniture as pleaded by Kanwar
Manjit Inder Singh had no application in the present case and that the succession
to the properties left behind by the Ruler would be governed by the personal law
of succession. On the question regarding validity of Third Will, the matter was
considered extensively under eight different heads and it was concluded that the
Third Will was a fabricated document which was shrouded with suspicious
circumstances and that the succession to the properties left behind by the Ruler
would, therefore, be by intestate succession. The issues concerning the
maintainability of the Suit were also decided in favour of Rajkumari Amrit Kaur.
20. On the issue of applicability of Rule of Primogeniture, the High Court
observed:-
“78. Now coming to the conclusion whether Law of Primogeniture
is applicable in the succession of Estate of deceased Raja Harinder
Singh, it can be seen that admittedly appellant in RSA No. 2176 of
2018 has claimed the property to be the ancestral property in order
to attract the Rule of Primogeniture which according to him exists
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on presumptory notion in case of rulers. Ancestral nature of the
property can be proved only by way of producing
Excerpt (Intekhab)/pedigree table, as per requirement of Volume 1,
Chapter 9, Rules 5 & 6 of High Court Rules and Orders, and as per
para No. 232 of Mullah's Law. The properties situated in village
Kaimbwala, Mauli Jagran and Manimajra-fort known as Surajgarh
Fort Manimajra and Hotel site No. 12 in Sector 17, Chandigarh are
proved to be self acquired properties. No evidence has been led by
the plaintiff/appellant to discharge the onus to show that the
properties have descended from common ancestor and only by rule
of descent and not otherwise. Appellant while appearing as PW-4
has not adduced any documentary evidence to show that the
properties in question are ancestral properties. The succession to
Gaddi of the Faridkot Estate was under the paramountcy of the
British Crown. The successor was being recognized by the
Britishers only and the same was not automatic, rather it was subject
to the approval/recognition by the British Crown. Primogeniture is
not codified law. The alleged custom i.e. rule of primogeniture has
to be pleaded and proved by way of evidence. The person who relies
upon the existence of custom/primogeniture has to discharge the
onus of proving the same to the satisfaction of the Court in the most
innocuous manner. The custom cannot be extended by analogy.
Specific custom has to be pleaded with reference to necessary
particulars in the pleadings and thereafter to be proved by the
asserting party by way of cogent and admissible evidence.
79. Prior to merger agreement, the property in question was held by
the late Raja as sovereign and there was no distinction between the
State and the private properties, as sovereign was owner of all the
properties. After the merger agreement and accession to dominion
of India, the properties were earmarked by late Raja as his personal
properties for which he was competent to do so under the Covenant.
After approval of the properties in the list submitted by the Raja as
his personal properties, the same ceased to be State properties.
Reference can be made to para nos. 61, 63, 64, 67 and 69
of Revathinnal Balagopala Varma v. Padmanabha Dasa Bala Rama
Varma 1993 Supp 1 SCC 233.
80. On merger of Faridkot State with dominion of India, Rule of
Primogeniture, if any, ceased to exist on account of Act of State. In
the Covenant dated 05.05.1948, there is no clause/article which
either recognizes or guarantees the continuance of alleged Rule of
Primogeniture. The Covenant has been reproduced in the White
Paper. As per Article XII of the Covenant, the Ruler of each
Covenanting States was entitled to the full ownership, use and
enjoyment of all the private properties as distinct from the State
properties, belonging to him on the date of his making over the
administration of the State to Rajpramukh. As per clause 2 of Article
XII, the Ruler of each covenanting States was required to furnish an
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inventory of all the immovable properties, securities and cash
balances to the Rajpramukh before 20.09.1948. This inventory is in
the context of immovable properties, securities and cash balances
held by the Ruler as private properties. On approval of list by
Rajpramukh, the properties in the hands of the Ruler became his
absolute properties and he was entitled to deal with his properties in
the manner he liked. Once the properties have been retained by the
Ruler as his personal properties after surrendering the sovereignty
to Government of India, pursuant to Covenant, then the properties
held by him are his private properties and other members of royal
family had no claim. Reference can be made to para nos. 69 & 81 to
86 of Revathinnal Balagopala Varma v. Padmanabha Dasa Bala
Rama Varma 1993 Supp 1 SCC 233.
81. After submission of list and approval of the same by
Rajpramukh, the Raja treated the suit properties to be his private and
individual properties, which is apparent from various Tax Returns
submitted by him before the Tax Authorities, claiming the suit
properties to be his individual properties in view of Ex. D3/22 to Ex.
D3/36. The Covenant entered into by the Ruler is an Act of State
between two sovereigns. No action in a Court of law can be founded
by any citizen of a new State. In the new set up, the residents do not
carry with them the rights which they possessed as subjects of the
ex-sovereign and that as subjects of new sovereign, they have only
such rights as are guaranteed or recognized by him. Reference can
be made to para nos. 11, 13 and 14 of Dalmiya Dadri Cement
Limited vs.Commissioner of Income Tax, AIR 1958 SC 816.
82. The impartible estate of Hindu Undivided Family, if any, existed
prior to Covenant entered by the Ruler disappeared on account of an
Act of the State. The territories of former State of Patiala have
merged into the territories of India and all the joint Hindu family
property/impartible estate, which existed prior to the accession have
ceased to exist on account of Act of the State. The grant of private
properties to the Ruler was an Act of State and such properties
cannot maintain the earlier character which was prior to entering
into Covenant by the Ruler with Government of India. Impartibility
of Estate ceased to exist on account of merger into the dominion of
India and, therefore, Rule of Primogeniture, if any, ceased to exist
on account of merger of Faridkot State with dominion of India. The
guarantee under the Covenant was only in respect of succession
to Gaddi and not to the private properties. The right to private
properties of the Ex-Ruler depends upon the personal law of
succession to such private properties.
83. Article XIV of the Covenant only recognized the succession to
“Gaddi” and not to the private properties, as approved in Article XII
of the Covenant. Gaddi and private properties are two distinct
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connotations and it cannot be said that Gaddi included private
properties in any manner. Clause I of Article XIV of the Covenant
prescribed that the succession, according to law and custom, to the
Gaddi of each covenanting State and to the personal rights,
privileges, dignities and titles of the Ruler thereof is hereby
guaranteed. Article XIV does not extend the assurance and
guarantee to private properties in any manner. The guarantee with
regard to succession, according to law and custom is given to the
Gaddi of each covenanting State and to the personal rights,
privileges, dignities and title to the Ex-Rulers thereof. There is no
guarantee with regard to succession according to law and custom
qua the private properties. The Government never guaranteed
succession according to law and custom to the private property of
the Ruler which he kept after submission of the list to the
Rajpramukh. Reference can be made to White Paper on India States
published by Government of India, Ministry of States issued on
05.07.1948. Part XI of the Indian States under the new Constitution
under the head “Guarantees Regarding Rights and Privileges” and
part VII “Settlement of Rulers Private properties” would show that
the nomenclature has been reflected in the White Paper, wherein it
has been mentioned that prior to the Covenant, there was no
distinction between private and State property of the Ruler. In the
White Paper, it has been mentioned that upon integration of States,
Ruler was required to furnish list of immovable properties, securities
and cash balances etc. claimed by him as private property and upon
approval of the same, the Ruler was entitled to full ownership and
enjoyment of private properties as distinct from State properties.
The personal privileges of the Ex.-Ruler and those privileges have
nothing to do with the personal property of the Ruler. The guarantee
or assurance are in respect of personal rights, privileges and
dignities of the Ruler. It does not extend to personal property which
is different from personal rights, privileges and dignities of the
Ruler. In this context reference can be made to the ratio of Sudhansu
Shekhar Singh Deo v. The State of Orissa, AIR 1961 SC 196(Five
Judges Bench) and State of Bihar v. Sir Kameshwar Singh, AIR
1952 SC 252(Five Judges Bench).”
21. It must be stated here that Kanwar Manjit Inder Singh, in support of his
claim, had also relied upon registered Will dated 29.03.1990 (Ex. D-10) executed
by Maharani Mohinder Kaur, mother of the Ruler. After having dealt with certain
specific properties, following clauses find place in said Will.
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“The testator further wishes that half of the amount of British
Government shall devolve on the Bharat Inder Singh son of Kanwar
Manjit Inder Singh.
Any residue left out of the aforesaid total estates belonging to the
testator shall devolve on Rajkumari Devinder Kaur.
………..The testator further ordains that other than the property and
estates mentioned above, any property or estate come her way after
execution of this Will she inherits or otherwise, those part properties
or assets only are to be divided equally between (i) Kanwar Manjit
Inder Singh, (ii) Rajkumari Devinder Kaur and (iii) Kanwar Bharat
Inder Singh. In the event of demise of testator son namely Kanwar
Manjit Inder Singh his estate is to be divided equally between
Rajkumari Devinder Kaur and Kanwar Bharat Singh. The testator
expressly wishes that in the event of demise of Rajkumari Devinder
Kaur her shall devolve on minor daughter of Rajkumari Devinder
Kaur namely Harvinder Kaur Alexandra Farinakis.”
22. Having found that the Will executed by Maharani Mohinder Kaur was
proved beyond any doubt and having concluded that the succession to the
properties left behind the Ruler would be by principles of intestate succession,
the High Court observed:-
“237………The claim with regard to succession to the estate and
private properties of deceased Raja Harinder Singh on the basis of
Law of Primogeniture is dismissed, however the appellant would
succeed to proportionate share of late Maharani Mohinder Kaur on
the basis of registered Will dated 29.03.1990 executed by her.
Maharani Mohinder Kaur (mother of Raja) was alive at the time of
death of Raja on 16.10.1989 and she being one of the first class heirs
of Raja would have succeeded share in the estate/properties of late
Raja. Therefore, on the basis of deemed succession/inheritance by
Maharani Mohinder Kaur on 16.10.1989 and thereafter to the extent
of share conferred by late Maharani Mohinder Kaur upon the
appellant by virtue of aforesaid Will dated 29.03.1990 (Ex-D-10),
the appellant would succeed to the said proportionate share in the
estate of Raja in accordance with law.”
23. While issuing notice in these Special Leave Petitions, by its order dated
13.08.2020 this Court directed: -
17
“Pending further consideration, all the parties shall maintain status
quo with regard to the properties involved in the present
proceedings. It is further directed that Maharwal Khewaji Trust
shall file the statement of accounts for the last five years before the
next date of hearing.”
24. Thereafter, while dealing with IA No.99377 of 2020 moved by the Trust
seeking permission to operate its bank accounts for payment of salaries, taxes;
towards utilities and maintenance of Trust properties and towards expenses of the
Charitable Hospital run by the Trust. After setting out details about such
accounts and the purposes set out in the application, by its order dated
16.10.2020, this Court directed: -
“Since the activities undertaken by the Trust are in the nature
of running of a Hospital and other philanthropic causes, at this stage,
we permit the applicant trust to operate the accounts mentioned in
paragraph 12 of the application strictly for the purposes enumerated
at Serial Nos.2 to 7 in paragraph 8 of the application.
The details of all the expenses so incurred as well as the
credits received shall be placed on record periodically; the First
Report shall be filed on or before 30.10.2020; and the Second Report
shall thereafter be submitted on or before 30.11.2020.
The Registry is directed to send a copy of this order to the
Banks mentioned in paragraph 12.
The concerned Bank Managers are also directed to send the
Statement of Accounts regarding respective Accounts for the period
01.06.2020 to 30.10.2020. The details shall be furnished to this
Court on or before 10.11.2020. The details in respect of the month
of November 2020 shall be furnished on or before 05.12.2020.”
25. In Special Leave Petition (C) Nos. 9151-9153 of 2020, we have heard Mr.
Mukul Rohatgi and Mr. Rakesh Dwivedi, learned Senior Advocates on behalf of
Rajkumari Deepinder Kaur, the Trust and its Trustees. Mr. Rohatgi concentrated
18
on issues concerning frame of Suit and limitation. In his submission, the Suit as
amended, was hit by provisions of Section 34 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963
and the claim was completely time barred. Mr. Dwivedi concentrated on matters
concerning the validity and reliability of the Third Will and took us through the
evidence on record.
 Since the submissions advanced on behalf of the appellants were dealt with
by all three Courts below extensively, we do not find any reason to upset the
concurrent view taken by the Courts below. The Special Leave Petition (C)Nos.
9151-9153 of 2020 are, therefore, dismissed without any order as to costs.
26. In Special Leave Petition (C) Nos. 11206-11208 of 2020 preferred by
Bharat Inder Singh son of Kanwar Manjit Inder Singh, Mr. Krishnan Venugopal,
learned Senior Advocate appearing for the petitioners has submitted that by Rule
of Primogeniture the properties left behind by the Ruler must come in the hands
of the male successor namely Kunwar Manjit Inder Singh, followed by his son
Bharat Inder Singh. In view of the specific finding rendered by the courts below,
including the High Court, in our view, no case was made out for the applicability
of Rule of Primogeniture and succession based on said Rule. We, therefore, see
no reason to entertain any challenge in that behalf. Special Leave Petition (C)
Nos. 11206-11208 of 2020, thus being devoid of any substance, are dismissed
without any order as to costs.
19
27. We now turn to Special Leave Petition (Civil) Nos. 10211-10213 of 2020
preferred by Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. Mr. V. Giri, learned Senior Advocate
appeared in support of the petition has sought to assail the findings with regard
to the effect of the Will executed by Maharani Mohinder Kaur and the
conclusions drawn by the High Court in that behalf. Once the will was proved
and found to have been validly executed, in terms of specific clauses in the Will,
the share of Maharani Mohinder Kaur in the properties left behind by the Ruler
would naturally be governed by the Will executed by the testatrix. The findings
rendered by the High Court were, therefore, fully justified and there is no reason
to entertain any challenge in that behalf. Special Leave Petition (Civil)
Nos.10211-10213 of 2020 are, therefore, dismissed without any order as to costs.
28. Having dealt with the challenges raised in the petition, we direct as under:-
a) All reports statements of accounts and other documents, lodged with this
Court, pursuant to interim directions issued by this Court, shall
immediately be sent by the Registry of this Court to the Trial Court.
b) The Trust shall be entitled to run the Charitable Hospital only upto
30.09.2022, 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.
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c) Rest of the properties in the hands of the Trust and/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.
d) With these observations, the Special Leave Petitions are disposed of.
……………….CJI.
[Uday Umesh Lalit]
………………….J.
[S. Ravindra Bhat]
………………….J.
[Sudhanshu Dhulia]
New Delhi;
September 07, 2022. 

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