SC dismisses appeals of Birlas with cost in will dispute

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New Delhi, Mar 31 (UNI) In a major setback to the Birlas, the Supreme Court today dismissed all the appeals filed by them in Will Probate Dispute with Rajinder Singh Lodha involving property worth over Rs 5000 crore.

A bench comprising Justices S B Sinha and Harjit Singh Bedi also imposed a cost of Rs 2.5 lakh each on the Birlas while dismissing the four appeals filed by them against Kolkata High Court judgement dismissing their petitions for making them parties in Probate Proceedings pending in the High Court.

The Birlas have been directed to deposit the cost of Rs 2.5 lakh within four weeks with West Bengal Legal Services Authority, failing which the Authority would be at liberty to seek execution of the order.

The Apex Court, however, allowed the two appeals filed by R S Lodha and directed that Probate Proceedings be conducted as expeditiously as possible. The 1991 Will Probate Proceedings filed by Lodha should be taken up first and the Will Probate Procedings of 1999 should be taken up thereafter, the court directed.

The civil suit filed in 2004 should be taken up only after the disposal of Probate Proceedings, if necessary, the judges said.

It may be noted here that R S Lodha is claiming that late Priyamvada Birla had made a will in his favour for the assets worth about Rs 5000 crore, while the Birlas are disputing the genuineness of the will.

The apex court also directed the registrar of the Supreme Court to send the copies of today's order to Kolkata High Court.

UNI SC SZ PK RS1148

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