Delhi High Court rejects plea claiming princely rights over land between Yamuna, Ganga [14.3.2024]

The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed with Rs 1 lakh costs a plea by a man claiming ownership over the land between rivers Yamuna and Ganga from Agra to Meerut and other places, including 65 revenue estates of Delhi, Gurugram and Uttarakhand.

A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan said Kunwar Mahender Dhwaj Prasad Singh, who claimed to be the successor of a former 'Raja' and challenged a single-judge's order refusing to grant him any relief on his writ petition, cannot agitate his claim in writ proceedings, that too after 78 years of Independence.

The single judge had dismissed his petition with costs of Rs 10,000 in December.

The appellant, in appeal, claimed that the land between United Province of Agra running between rivers Yamuna and Ganga from Agra to Meerut, Aligarh, Bulandshahar, 65 revenue states of Delhi, including Gurgaon and Uttarakhand, came under the "Princely State of Beswan family" and since there was no accession agreement signed between his forefathers and the Government of India, the Union of India's control over the area was an encroachment.

"This court is in agreement with the view of the single judge that the claim raised by the appellant cannot be adjudicated in a writ proceeding.The question of title can only be decided in a civil court and not a writ court," said the bench, also comprising Justice Manmeet PS Arora.

It also said the claim, raised after 78 years of India's Independence, was barred by delay as well as the "principle of extinguishment".

"The appeal is dismissed with costs of Rs 1 lakh," the bench ordered.

The appellant contended that he was the successor of the estate and as per the law, nobody can be deprived of his property without due process which was not adopted in the present case.

"Not after 75 years...isn't it too late in the day to contest this ? You can't come in 2024," the court retorted.

While dismissing the writ petition, the single judge had said the plea was completely misconceived and nothing but an abuse of the process of law and complete waste of judicial time.

In the petition, the appellant had sought a direction to the Central government to adopt the process of merger, accession or enter into treaty with him for his claimed territory and pay the due compensation to him.

14 Mar 2024