Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Wednesday asked Vijaypat Singhania, the chairman-emeritus of the Raymond Group, to disclose on oath the status of family properties listed in a family settlement of 1998.
A division bench headed by justice Abhay Oka asked Singhania to file an affidavit on the status of properties mentioned in the family settlement by 22 June. The judges were hearing an appeal filed by four grandchildren of Vijaypat Singhania against a single judge order of August 2015 of the Bombay high court that refused interim relief to them in a suit they filed seeking share in the family property.
The appellants had sought a direction to Vijaypat Singhania to not deal with any property included in the 1998 family settlement, which he and his estranged son Madhupati Singhania had entered in. The appellants—Raivathari (18), Ananya (29), Rasaalika (26) and Tarini (20)—are children of Madhupati Singhania, who left the family’s Mumbai home 17 years ago along with his wife Anuradha, and settled in Singapore.
Madhupati Singhania’s children had filed the suit in February 2015, staking claim to “their share of the family property”. They sought a direction from the high court restraining any further transactions in the family assets, estimated at over Rs.1,000 crore. These assets include those listed in the family settlement of 1998, about two lakh shares of the flagship company Raymonds Ltd which were in Madhupati Singhania’s name, Madhupati’s 1/24th share in JK Bankers, the company from where the entire business started, and a few other assets listed in the grandchildren’s own name.
The appellants argued in the suit that as per the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, Vijaypat Singhania could not have dealt in any property registered in the name of his minor grandchildren without a court order. However, Vijaypat Singhania’s counsel opposed their plea on the grounds that if the property was a joint family property, then a minor’s consent or a court order is not required to deal with the “undivided property”.