A MONTH after the Supreme Court agreed to consider if it should examine the constitutional validity of the 1975 national emergency in a plea filed by 94-year-old Vera Sarin, her family has now approached the Delhi High Court, seeking recovery of damages for “illegal possession” of her property in Delhi by Central government authorities till July 2020.
The property was forfeited under provisions of the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act, 1976, in 1998 and remained leased to the Directorate of Estates since 1976.
During 1974-1976, the suit states, raids were conducted at the business premises of H K Sarin — the father of the plaintiffs — and a preventive detention order was issued against him. In continuation of those proceedings, in 1980, he was issued showcause notice regarding the sources of his income, earnings and means by which various assets were acquired by him.
It was in 1998 that the properties, including a flat at Kasturba Gandhi Marg, were forfeited by the central government. In May 1999, the Directorate of Estates stopped paying rent for the property.
In 2014, the High Court had set aside the forfeiture order, but the property was released to them only in July 2020 after another round of litigation. While the HC in July 2020 directed for release of arrears of rent, Sarin’s sons Rajiv Sarin and Deepak Sarin and daughter Radhika Sarin have now approached it again for recovery of damages on account of loss of rent, profits and interest.
The family is seeking compensation of Rs 2,20,70,954 from the government authorities.
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