The Delhi High Court deferred the hearing of a petition filed by legal heirs of Maharani Gayatri Devi seeking release of Rs 80 lakh deposited by them in the Government vault as taxes for contravention of the Gold Control Act in 1975.
Initially, the petition was filed by Maharani Gayatri Devi of the erstwhile Jaipur royal family of Rajasthan stating that Rs 80 lakh deposited in the Government exchequer as a fine imposed on her late husband was collected illegally as her husband had died in 1970 and the raid was conducted under the Gold Declaration Act in 1975 – five years after his death.
About 800 kg of gold, listed as the private property of Gayatri Devi’s husband, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh, was seized by the Income Tax department as the family had not declared it to the authorities as stipulated by the Gold Control Act, 1968. The Act has now been repealed.
After the death of Gayatri Devi on July 29 last year, her legal heirs including eldest son Brig (retd) Sawai Bhawani Singh have approached the High Court, saying that the money paid as penalty in 1975 should be refunded to them as their father died five years earlier before the raid was conducted.
No action can be initiated against a person who has died, the petitioner contended.
The central government, however, contended that though the gold was seized under the Gold Control Act and the Indian Defence Rules 1968, but it was released later after a penalty of Rs 80 lakh was paid by the royal family.
Posting the hearing, the court directed the government counsel to explore the laws and confirm whether this case falls under the category of such cases where no action can be initiated against a person after his death.