The Delhi High Court has upheld the 2001 eviction order passed against the heirs of Maharaja Ranjit Singh Gaekwad (Now Deceased) for Safdarjung Lane Bungalow in New Delhi.

The Bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad observed that it did not find any reason to interfere with the order of eviction and thus held –

"Neither the Maharaja Ranjit Singh nor the legal heirs are entitled to continue indefinitely in a Government accommodation and no statutory provision of law has been brought to the notice of this Court which entitles the Maharaja or his legal heirs to continue in a Government accommodation indefinitely or for allotment of plot in Delhi."

The legal heirs of the Maharaja were allotted the house in the year 1980 i.e., 7, Safdarjung Lane in his capacity as a Member of Parliament. The Maharaja remained the MP till November 27, 1989, and the allotment was canceled on December 27, 1989. However, the Maharaja did not vacate the said house, and eviction proceedings were initiated and finally, an eviction order was passed on November 28, 2011.

The issue that was dealt with by the Court was –

  • Whether there was any decision by the Government of India to allot the plot to the Maharaja or not.

Counsel Rajiv Talwar appeared for the Appellant while CGSC Anil Soni appeared for the Union of India before the Court.

The Bench noted, "The proposal which is on record makes it very clear that it was a mere proposal by Government of India subject to certain terms and conditions, and the Maharaja did not fulfil the terms and conditions of the proposal made by the Government of India and kept on deliberating with the Government."

The Court also held that the internal deliberations with the Government of India can never be said to be allotment of plot in favor of the Late Maharaja or his successors and the Appellants had not been able to point out any breach of statutory provisions before the Court, that can enable the Court to issue a Writ, Order or Direction in the matter as prayed for.

The Court after carefully going through all the material documents on record held that the Maharaja/legal heirs of the Maharaja are not at all entitled to an allotment of the plot as claimed by them.

The Bench also noted that the offer made to Maharaja in 1976 by the Government of India was not responded to in terms of the offer and the Maharaja was also suffering a disqualification for allotment of plot under the Urban Land (Ceiling and Regulation) Act, 1976.

The Court observed that the Single Judge was justified in holding that the Petition suffers from delay and laches.

The legal heirs of Maharaja had against the order of eviction of 2001 approached the High Court for quashing of the order of eviction and two Writ Petitions were preferred arising out of the eviction order as well as allotment of plot. The Single Judge had however dismissed both Petitions.

The Single Judge had initially on September 3, 2002, passed an order granting a stay in the matter of eviction, after which a detailed reply was filed by the Union of India and the Single Judge dismissed the Petition.

The Division Bench of the High Court in 2021 allowed the stay on the eviction notice on the property in dispute along with a condition for the payment of Rs. 10 Lakh per month till the stay application or main petition is decided (whichever is earlier). The Petition was filed by the heirs of the Maharaja seeking a stay on the eviction notice on which an earlier stay was granted in the year 2002 by the Single Judge.

Cause Title – Maharaja Ranjit Singh Gaekwad (Now Deceased) Through Lrs. v. Union of India & Ors.

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