New Delhi, Jan 25 The Supreme Court on Monday was taken by surprise after it came across the pendency of a succession suit filed in 1958 in connection with the division of property of the erstwhile Hyderabad princely state's Prime Minister, Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan Salar Jung III, who died on March 2, 1949.
Salar Jung was the Prime Minister in 1938 and died leaving behind his widow and daughter as Class 1 legal heirs to properties of nearly Rs 10,000 crore. The heirs have fought a legal fight for three generations, but justice still eludes them.
Salar Jung's daughter Zainab Begum filed several cases trying to prove herself his successor but died without justice in 1972. Zainab's daughter Munnirunissa Begum continued the legal battle till no avail till her death in January 2009.
Her husband Syed Zahid Ali, her son and two daughters filed a plea in the Supreme Court, through advocate Piyush Dwivedi, to pursue the matter of succession to the Salar Jung estate.
A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and comprising Justice A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian acknowledged the gravity of the matter which has been pending for over 60 years.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Ali, submitted that his client was married to the direct descendant of Salar Jung, and properties were divided without making his family a party.
"Six courts have ordered in my client's favour (given certificate of entitlement). (He) also wrote two letters to the Union Home Ministry," he argued.
The bench said it is not inclined to entertain this writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution. "However, we are of the view that it would be appropriate for the petitioners to invoke the powers of the High Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India for the relief claimed by them," it noted.
Singhvi stressed that the suit is pending since 1958 and justice should be delivered in the matter.
At this, the court said: "We are certain that the High Court can pass appropriate directions for disposing of that suit and other connected proceedings in a time bound manner. The writ petition is, accordingly, dismissed as withdrawn with the above observations."
The plea said that the petitioner made a representation to the respondents (Centre and Telangana government) along with succession certificate with a request to release the assets belonging to Nawab Salar Jung Bahadur III. However, the representation was of no avail, and hence, the petitioner moved the top court under Article 32, it said.
( With inputs from IANS )
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