Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Plea on claim of being Ranjit Singh's descendant dismissed

Putting an end to a 13-year-long dispute, judicial magistrate Pamelpreet Grewal dismissed a petition filed by Beant Singh Sandhawalia, seeking directions to declare him descendant of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Beant Singh, a resident of Amritsar, had died during the pendency of the suit; the case is now being pursued by his sons.

He had moved the court in August 2001, seeking directions to declare him "nearest descendant" of Maharaja Ranjit Singh or the "nearest collateral" of the Maharaja.

Beant Singh had moved the court, after the Punjab government had decided to honour the descendants of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 2001, while celebrating 300 years of the coronation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. He was upset at the decision of the government not to include him in the list of the persons to be honoured.

Following the filing of the suit, to avoid a controversy, the Punjab government had abandoned the idea of honouring the descendants.
 
In his petition, Beant Singh had claimed that his father Pritam Singh was adopted by Sophia Alexandra Dalip Singh, who is granddaughter of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The claim was strongly contested by one of the descendants, Kanwar Kavinder Pal Singh. In an affidavit filed before the court, Kavinder Pal claimed that Pritam Singh was never adopted by Sophia though Pritam Singh's father had been pressing her to adopt him. Sophia who died a spinster though had willed some money to Pritam Singh but was reclutant to adopt him, and had agreed to fund the education of one of the children, the affidavit pointed out.

"The case has been dismissed, though the grounds of dismissal would be clear only after the copy of order is made available," said advocate Harish Bhardwaj, who appeared on behalf of the descendants of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The suit had placed heavy reliance on history books to prove the claims as well as counter-claims.

Shailee Dogra, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, February 21, 2014

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