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SC appoints arbitrator in Singhania property dispute

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 4 (UNI) The Supreme Court today appointed retired judge S N Variava as the sole arbitrator in the family dispute of the Singhanias, regarding 15 family properties having huge market value -- one in Mumbai and the rest in Kanpur.

A bench comprising Justice H K Sema and Justice A R Lakshmanan also ruled that the arbitration proceedings be completed within six months, but said the arbitrator would however be at liberty to extend the time.

Appeals of Hari Shankar Singhania, and others of the industrialist family were dismissed by the Mumbai High Court on the ground of limitation as there was a delay of 50 days in filing an application for arbitration.

The apex court held respondents Gaur Hari Singhania and eight others belonging to his branch of family, responsible for dragging the proceedings endlessly and enjoying the property while depriving others of their valuable rights.

The court in a 42-page judgement written by Justice Lakshmanan also said that family disputes are governed by a special equity principle and technicalities like limitation should not affect implementation of a settlement drawn by a family.

The Supreme Court had earlier in September 2005, appointed retired apex court judge N Santosh Hegde as a conciliator. Justice Hegde, in his report in February this year, informed the court that conciliation had failed.

The dispute in the Singhania family started in 1987 when the parties failed to stick to the family settlement of having equal share in the property of a partnership firm after it was dissolved and the dispute has since been hanging fire.

UNI AKS/SC LR BS1832

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