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A 2 century old case in Kolkatta High CourtViews: 938
Nov 10, 2008 9:54 amA 2 century old case in Kolkatta High Court#

The wheels of Indian justice grind slowly, but there are times when they don't move at all as has happened with the record-breaking case of an erstwhile Bengali royal family's property. The matter, which is now in the Calcutta High Court, has been pending for 175 years, making it perhaps the country's longest-running case.

The property belonged to Raja Rajkrishna Deb, a 17th-century landlord of Bengal's Shovabazar royal family. Now, the Raja's descendents some 200 of them are demanding it.

The stakes are high some seven mansions in north Kolkata, nearly 100,000 acres of land in what is now Bangladesh, large tracts of land in at least three districts of West Bengal, and half of erstwhile Sutanati, one of the three villages that make up modern Kolkata.

But all this is still in the hands of a court-appointed receiver. "We are kings in name only. There is no money even to take care of the temples and do puja," a descendent of the raja told TOI. Incidentally, the Shovabazar Durga Puja is an institution in Kolkata.

The problems began when Raja Rajkrishna Deb died in 1823, bequeathing his estate to his seven surviving sons. But the sons started selling off property to fund their luxurious lifestyles.

The matter first came to court in 1833, when an executor of Rajkrishna Deb's will lodged a case to try to stop the sale. After pondering the case for 22 years, the judges appointed a British lawyer to oversee the property and the case dragged on.

Now the heirs want it back but legal experts say it won't be easy for the high court to take a decision on a case file that's been gathering dust for nearly two centuries. National and state boundaries have since changed and a substantial portion of the land once owned by Raja Rajkrishna Deb is now in Bangladesh.

Private Reply to Rudy

Nov 11, 2008 6:08 pmre: A 2 century old case in Kolkatta High Court#

Vijay Nair
There are many similar examples, who have deemed it better to fight on and on ....

The Sarabhais of Gujarat
The Nizam's heirs
The Scindias

The list is actually endless....

Vijay Nair, Partner
KNM & Partners, Law Offices

Private Reply to Vijay Nair

Nov 12, 2008 9:02 amre: A 2 century old case in Kolkatta High Court#


Reminds me of a TV commercial (forgot the brand name) that features two lawyers arguing a case in court for years. As the prosecution and defense counsels (a man and a woman) grow older over the years, the gavel (made of the wood advertised) remains shiny and in good condition.

Private Reply to RVIyengar

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