Princess' Sakina stakes claim for Nizam's London funds
HYDERABAD: Almost 16 months after the UK High Court ruling that that funds of Nizam Osman Ali Khan, since transferred to the high commissioner of Pakistan in Britain in 1948, now worth around 35 million pounds, belongs to India, now the great granddaughter of the seventh Nizam, Princess Shafiya Sakina, has approached the Telangana High Court challenging the exclusion of the Nizam’s female legal heirs from the funds in NatWest Bank, London.
Shafiya filed a petition before the High Court alleging that Union of India ignored the female legal heirs and had taken away their property rights by entering a confidential settlement with the titular eighth Nizam, Prince Mukarram Jah, and his younger brother Muffakham Jah.
She urged the court to declare such settlement or agreement as illegal and arbitrary and direct for inclusion of all the beneficiaries of Nizam Trusts to get their share of the 35 million pounds.
Complaining that 34.5 million have been withdrawn by Prince Mukarram Jah and Muffakham Jah and distributed along with the Union of India as per their confidential agreement made at the time of contesting the case at UK court, she requested the High Court to direct them to re-deposit the money.
She brought in the notice of the High Court that the court in England had recorded the fact that there was a confidential settlement between the Union of India and the legal heirs of Nizam.
“Only five lakh pounds are to be distributed among the other so-called legal heirs of Nizam VII. After deducting the legal expenses the amount would be a paltry 3,47, 118.53 pounds. So it is an unjust and unfair settlement”, Shafiya said.
When no Indian court declared that the two brothers were exclusively entitled for the funds in the UK bank and they have not obtained any succession certificate in this regard, the Centre’s act to allow the two to withdraw the funds violates the law, she argued.
The seventh Nizam created 28 Trusts and the beneficiaries of these Trusts are not just the two brothers and their legal heirs. The Nizam mentioned many other relatives as beneficiaries. She wanted to know how the Union Government concluded that only those two were the beneficiaries. Moreover, as per the Mohammedan Law, female legal heirs are entitled to 50 per cent of the share of what a male heir is entitled to, she pointed out.
The Centre’s agreement with only the so-called ‘Princes’ by excluding the ‘Princesses’ amounts to gender discrimination and is a clear violation of the Indian Constitution, she said.