NEW DELHI: The legal tussle over the assets of late Maharani Gayatri Devi was finally decided today, with the Supreme Court upholding the verdict of the Delhi High Court order allowing transfer of some shares of late Maharani to her grandchildren Devraj and Lalitya Kumari.
A bench of justices A R Dave and Adarsh K Goel said the High Court "rightly" reversed the Company Law Board's (CLB) verdict which ordered rectification of share register of Jai Mahal Hotels Pvt Ltd in which Gayatri Devi held 99 per cent stakes. The High Court had allowed the plea of Devraj and Lalitya, currently residing in Bangkok, that these shares be registered in their names.
The apex court also slapped a fine of Rs 5 lakh on the step sons of the late Maharani. "In the present case, there is no real dispute between the parties. The DR Group (Devraj and Lalitya) followed the due procedure. It had the succession certificate in its favour apart from the transfer deed from Gayatri Devi, who admittedly inherited rights from late Maharaja Jagat Singh.
"Will in favour of Gayatri Devi is beyond any dispute. Thus, the DR Group derived rights from the Gayatri Devi by documents executed by her in her lifetime and conveyed to the Company. Even if the Will of Gayatri Devi is not taken into account for purposes of issue of rectification, the documents executed by Gayatri Devi clearly entitled the DR Group to have the rectification made," the bench said.
Devraj and Lalitya, who keeps visiting Jaipur, had moved the High Court saying their father Jagat Singh was the son of Gayatri Devi and Sawai Man Singh and held 99 per cent shares in the firm. Jagat Singh died leaving a will that Gayatri Devi would be the owner of all his properties, including the shares in the company.
Later, Gayatri Devi, who died on July 29, 2009, left a will saying her grandchildren Devraj and Lalitya would inherit all her properties, they had told the High Court. The High Court had allowed the plea and ordered rectification of company records which would show Devraj and Lalitya as holders of the stakes held earlier by Gayatri Devi.