Plea filed before Delhi High Court seeking damages in relation to property forfeited in proceedings initiated during National Emergency

The plaintiffs before the High Court are the children of the 94-year old who moved the Supreme Court last year to declare the national emergency as unconstitutional.
Plea filed before Delhi High Court seeking damages in relation to property forfeited in proceedings initiated during National Emergency
Declaration of National Emergency (The Hindu, June 26, 1975) Pic Courtesy: Indpaedia

A suit has been filed before the Delhi High Court seeking damages in relation to a property which was wrongfully forfeited in proceedings arising out of the National Emergency imposed by the Government of India in 1975 (Rajiv Sarin vs Directoarte of Estates & Ors).

The plaintiffs, Rajiv Sarin, Deepak Sarin and Radhika Sarin, before the High Court are the children of the 94-year old who moved the Supreme Court last year to declare the national emergency as unconstitutional.

Declaration of National Emergency (The Hindu, June 26, 1975) Pic Courtesy: Indpaedia
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The suit, which is filed through Advocate Sidhant Kumar, is in relation to their property at Kasturba Gandhi Marg which was taken over by the Central government authorities.

As per the plaintiffs, the genesis of their ordeal was the preventive detention order under the provisions of the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974, issued by the Delhi government in July 1975 against their father.

It is added that the plaintiffs' father was subsequently issued a show cause notice under Section 6 of Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act, 1976, calling upon him to explain the sources of income, earnings and means by which various assets including the KG Marg property were acquired.

While the plaintiffs' father filed various replies in response to the notice, the Competent Authority under the Smugglers Act passed an order which resulted in forfeiture of the KG Marg property.

Finally, in July 1999, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India took over possession of the KG Marg property as forfeited property.

The plaintiffs state that prior to the issuance of the show cause notice, the property was admittedly leased out to the Government of India from time to time.

It is informed that after a series of litigation was fought by the plaintiff and their mother, the proceedings under SAFEMA were set aside by the High Court as being a nullity and the authorities formally closed the proceedings in 2016.

It is the plaintiffs' case that since the order of preventive detention has been revoked and the order of forfeiture has also been declared a nullity, the Central government must be held liable to pay Rs. 2,20,70,954 as damages in the form of loss of market rent and mesne profits for the period ranging from 1999-2020.

A direction is also sought to direct Central government to pay over Rs 9 lakh towards damages arising out of outstanding maintenance charges and over Rs 43 lakh towards damages arising out of outstanding Property Tax.

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