Plea in HC for damages regarding Lutyens property forfeited in 1998

New Delhi, January 5

A lawsuit was filed in the Delhi High Court seeking damages related to a property in Lutyens’ Delhi, whose forfeiture was set aside, due to its alleged illegal use for 21 years.

The suit has been filed by children of a 94-year-old woman, Veera Sarin, who recently approached the Supreme Court to declare the national emergency imposed by the government in 1975 as unconstitutional.

The suit has sought from the Central government damages of Rs 2.20 crore, Rs 9.89 lakh, Rs 43.5 lakh for loss of market rent, outstanding maintenance charges and outstanding property tax respectively in relation to illegal use and occupation of a property in Ansal Bhawan, Kasturba Gandhi Marg here from May 1999 to July 2020.

Plaintiffs Rajiv, Deepak and Radhika Sarin, through advocate Sidhant Kumar, have filed the suit against Directorate of Estates, Ministry of Labour and Employment and Competent Authority Under Smugglers And Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of property) Act (SAFEMA), in relation to their KG Marg property which was taken over by the Central government authorities.

The plaintiffs said they are the owners of the property which was forfeited by the authorities under (SAFEMA) in 1998 and it was leased out to Directorate of Estates (DoE) prior to forfeiture. As a consequence of the forfeiture, DoE  stopped paying rent to the plaintiffs admittedly from May 1, 1999.

It said the forfeiture was set aside and quashed by the Delhi High Court in December 2014 and despite several attempts by Sarins, the authorities were not releasing the property to them.

Pursuant to the June 2020 order of the high court, Sarins got the possession of the property in July 2020.

“This court by order dated July 28, 2020 directed Defendant No. 1 (DoE) to pay arrears of rent as per the last paid rent to the plaintiffs at the rate of Rs 20,500 per month from May 1, 1999 to July 2, 2020. This court further granted liberty to the plaintiffs to claim further amounts towards market rent, mesne profits, compensation and interest by instituting appropriate proceedings,” the suit said, adding that thereafter, the present proceedings are initiated.

The plea is likely to come up for hearing before the high court next week. — PTI

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