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The Supreme Court held a special sitting on Sunday to hear a property dispute between members of the Singhania family, an industrial house spread across different cities in India. The dispute relates to the ownership of Juhu bungalow in Mumbai.
The case was heard by a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and AM Khanwilkar with a slew of Senior Advocates appearing in the matter. According to the order, Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal, P Chidambaram, Shyam Divan and Dinyar Madon appeared for various parties.
The issue relates to division of family property of Singhania family between the Mumbai, Kolkata and Kanpur branches of the family. An arbitrator had passed an order dividing the properties between the three branches as per which the Juhu bungalow was to go to the Kolkata Group.
The Juhu bungalow is a museum containing valuable pieces of art and furniture. The Kolkata Group had subsequently got favourable orders from the Bombay High Court directing Vijaypat Singhania and his son Gautam Singhania (Chairman of the clothing major Raymonds Group) , who is currently the petitioner in Supreme Court, to honour the arbitral award and transfer the bungalow to the Kolkata branch.
The order passed by the Supreme Court yesterday directs the petitioner, Gautam Singhania to hand over the bungalow to the Respondent No 1 (Hari Shankar Singhania) subject to a deposit of Rs. 20 crore by the respondents before the Registry of the Supreme Court.
“Having heard learned counsel for the parties, it is directed that the petitioner shall hand over the property i.e. Kamala Cottage, Property No.6 at Juhu, Mumbai (property at Sl. No.5) to the respondent Nos.1 to 6 by 6th May, 2017, subject to deposit of a sum of Rs.20,00,00,000/- (Rupees twenty crores only) by the said respondents before the Registry of this Court on or before 4th May, 2017.”
Interestingly, the Court in its order has made it clear that if anyone tries to create any obstruction when the property is being handed over shall be liable for contempt of court.
“In the event the amount is deposited, the Advocate-on-Record for the respondents shall intimate it to the Advocate-on-Record for the petitioner. The purpose of this intimation is that the petitioner shall hand over the possession of the property as mentioned herein-above on or before 6th May, 2017, which is not later than forty-eight hours. When we say the petitioner, it means that the possession of the property shall be handed over and anyone who tries to create obstruction, shall be liable for contempt of this Court.”
It is, however, not clear as to why the Court held an urgent sitting on Sunday to hear the case. The previous order in the case records the following:
“As suggested and agreed to by the learned counsel appearing for the parties, let the matter be listed at 2.00 p.m. on 30th April, 2017.”
Livemint has an extract of the family tree of the Singhania family that helps us understand the ongoing family dispute.
Read the two orders below.
Image Source: Mid Day