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Territory between Yamuna and Ganga: Delhi HC imposes Rs 1 lakh fine on claimant for vague property rights plea

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Territory between Yamuna and Ganga: Delhi HC imposes Rs 1 lakh fine on claimant for vague property rights plea

New Delhi, March 14 (IANS) A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court on Thursday upheld a single-judge’s order and further imposed a Rs 1 lakh fine on Kunwar Mahendra Dhwaj Prasad Singh, who claimed property rights over a vast territory between the rivers Yamuna and Ganga.

Last year in December, Justice Subramonium Prasad had imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on Kunwar Singh and dismissed his plea, which sought government intervention for the claimed territory running between the two rivers, encompassing large swathes of land.

On Thursday, a Bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora dismissed Kunwar Singh’s appeal citing significant delay in filing the petition.

The Bench said that Kunwar Singh’s prayer was clearly barred by delay and laches as well as the principle of extinguishment as the petition was filed over seven decades after India’s independence.

Kunwar Singh, claiming to be a successor and heir of the Beswan family, had sought the court’s direction to the Union government not to conduct elections in the territories claimed by him without following due legal processes.

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The single-judge had found the writ petition to be “completely misconceived” and deemed the claims raised, inappropriate for adjudication through a writ petition.

Justice Prasad had noted that Kunwar Singh’s submission lacked substantial evidence, including maps, and historical accounts did not indicate the existence of the Beswan family or Kunwar Singh’s rights.

Similarly, the Division Bench also concurred with Justice Prasad’s ruling that Kunwar Singh’s claim, which was based on a pure question of facts regarding the ownership of an extensive area between the Yamuna and Ganga rivers could not be adjudicated in writ proceedings due to the considerable time elapsed since the grievance arose in 1947.

The Bench remarked on the implausibility of addressing such a claim after so many years, questioning the basis of Kunwar Singh’s ownership claim after a delay of over 75 years.

“You say you own the entire area between Yamuna and Ganga. On what basis are you coming? After 75 years you have woken up,” the Bench remarked.

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It added, “The grievance arose in 1947. Isn’t it too late in the day to contest this? This is 1947 and we are in 2024. Many years have gone by. Whether you’re the raja or not, we don’t know. You can’t complain today that you’ve been deprived in 1947.”

“We cannot help you with this now. This is too late in the day. How do we know you’re the owner? We don’t have the papers. This is all barred by delay and laches. You file a suit, claim a declaration. We don’t know. How can it be now?,” the court said.

Justice Prasad had stated that the writ petition amounted to an abuse of the legal process and a waste of judicial time.

In response, the court had ordered Kunwar Singh to deposit the imposed costs with the Armed Forces Battle Casualties Welfare Fund within four weeks.

Justice Prasad had said that Kunwar Singh should pursue appropriate legal proceedings, including documentary and oral evidence, to substantiate his claims.

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The court had clarified that writ petitions were not suitable for adjudicating factual disputes that require a proper contested suit in a civil court.

–IANS

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