The Supreme Court has permitted the Maharwal Khewaji Trust, which manages the Rs 20,000-crore property of erstwhile princely state of Faridkot, to operate bank accounts to pay salaries to staff and meet expenses on utilities bills and taxes etc.
In June, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ruled that the will of Harinder Singh Brar, the last ruler of the erstwhile princely state, was forged in favour of the Maharwal Khewaji Trust on June 1, 1982.
The High Court had said that his two daughters, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur and Maharani Deepinder Kaur, were entitled to inherit and share the properties.
The trust had moved the Supreme Court against this order. The top court had ordered for a status quo and allowed the trust to continue as caretaker.
Last Friday, a bench comprising Justices UU Lalit and S Ravindra Bhat said: “Since the activities undertaken by the Trust are in the nature of running a hospital and other philanthropic causes, at this stage, we permit the applicant Trust to operate the accounts mentioned in Paragraph 12 of the application strictly for the purposes enumerated at serial numbers 2 to 7 in Paragraph 8 of the application.”
The expenses include those on salaries, amounts due towards security agency, utilities bills, advance tax and GST payments and the statutory payments towards ESI and EPF.
The bench ordered that details of all expenses incurred as well as credits received should be placed before it periodically.
“The first report shall be filed on or before October 30; and the second report thereafter be submitted on or before November 30, ” said the top court.
Senior Advocates V Giri and Krishnan Venugopal opposed the prayer and submitted that in the name of meeting the expenditure towards fulfilling the objectives of the Trust, the amounts are being misused and, as such, the relief prayed for should not to be granted.
The top court’s order came on an interlocutory application filed by Trust that during the pendency of these petitions it may be permitted to operate its bank accounts.
Senior Advocates Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Dhruv Mehta, appearing for the applicant, submitted that though there was no express order of injunction, the banks concerned have frozen the Trust accounts, as a result of which its activities are getting seriously prejudiced. They urged the top court to allow these accounts to be operated during the pendency of petitions.
The top court also directed the bank managers concerned to submit statements of accounts from June 1 to October 30. The top court listed the matter for disposal on November 4.