Petition to Conduct CBI Enquiry into Murder of Dr J A Mathan

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Beyond the Grave of Gayatri Devi: The law of Primogeniture for Royals and rights of Polygamous second/third wives

The shocking tale of the Jaipur Royals is now moving to the Glamorous Free-spirit life of Gayatri Devi.

1. Her husband was in a polygamous relationship (She was the Third wife). Do the Hindu laws not apply for erstwhile Royalty in India? Hindu laws recognises the Rights of the First Wife alone, and the role of second/third/etc wives is equated to CONCUBINES (who have no legal rights).

2. Royalty has been scrapped from the Indian system, and Royalty is not supposed to use Royal titles. How come Gayatri Devi is being fawned over by a stupid media who is called her 'QUEEN MOTHER'? How many QUEEN MOTHERS does/did India have? India is NOT a monarchy.

3. How come people are talking about the 'LAW OF PRIMOGENITURE FOR ROYALTY' especially since Royalty has been scrapped? The Law of Primogeniture gets applied to Royalty during British rule (so that they could take over the Princely States).

More later.......
Beyond the Grave of Gayatri Devi: The law of Primogeniture for Royals and Polygamy

August 7, 2009
Maharani Gayatri Devi's demise has breathed fresh life into an ugly family dispute over the extravagant property of Jaipur's former royalty - whose worth runs into several hundreds of crores.

The legal row pits Gayatri Devi's grandchildren Devraj Singh and Lalitya Kumari against their step-uncles Prithviraj Singh and Jai Singh, born to Kishore Kanwar, the second wife of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur.

Another protagonist in the bitter saga is Bhawani Singh, born to the Maharaja's first wife, Marudhar Kanwar. At the centre of the storm are two palaces- turned-hotels, Rambagh Palace and Jai Mahal, and Lily Pool, the residential quarters of Gayatri Devi. All family members own the two palaces in varying degrees, and none can sell it without the consent of the rest.

The 90-year-old Rajmata (queen mother), the third wife of the last king of Jaipur, passed away on July 29. Her will is to be read out on August 9, after the 12-day mourning is over. But the feud over who gets what has already begun.

On August 4, a door linking Lily Pool with Rambagh Palace was sealed with a brick wall from the Rambagh side. The door was used by the Rajmata to access the palace's swimming pool.

A new path has been opened towards Rambagh Palace along the land near the swimming pool. The barbed fencing separating Rambagh and Lily Pool has also been removed from the Rambagh side.

No one has taken responsibility for the changes, and Devraj has refused to file a complaint.

But the changes are meant to make Lily Pool more easily accessible from Rambagh, whose majority shares are owned by Bhawani Singh.

This is only the latest episode of a protracted dispute that dates back to 1986, when Gayatri Devi's only son, Jagat Singh, filed a partition suit in the Delhi High Court. Jagat sought the court's intervention to split up the late Maharaja's estates and belongings. The other parties in the suit were Gayatri Devi, Prithviraj Singh and Jai Singh.

The suit was against Bhawani Singh, who invoked the law of primogeniture in which the eldest son is entitled to inherit all property.

Most Indian royal families are governed under this law.(?????)

But the case got complicated when Jagat Singh and his wife Priyanandna Rangsit, a Thai princess, got divorced in 1987.

Priyanandna married a Thai and settled down in Bangkok along with the two children she had from Jagat -- Devraj and Lalitya.

This didn't exactly endear her to her former mother-in-law.

Jagat died in 1998. In 2006, Priyanandna flew down to India to accuse Gayatri Devi and Prithviraj Singh of trying to deprive her children of their share in Jai Mahal, which houses a palace-category hotel managed by the Taj Group.

Priyanandna said Jagat had held 99 per cent equity in the hotel -- and not just 7 per cent as claimed by the family. Devraj and Lalitya also approached the Company Law Board, seeking the restoration of Jai Mahal to them.

But Prithiviraj Singh produced a '(forgery)will', written by Jagat in the form of a letter to Gayatri Devi on June 23, 1996, in which he 'disinherited' his children and bequeathed all his property and assets to his mother.

This unregistered (??Fraudulent) will said: "On my demise, I hereby disinherit my children Devraj and Lalitya from getting/claiming any part of my estate. I hereby bequeath all my movable and immovable properties and assets to you solely." The family faultlines were redrawn, with Priyanandna and her children alleging Gayatri Devi was acting against them under the influence of Prithviraj Singh and his brother Jai Singh.

During their visit, the three stayed at the City Palace with Bhawani Singh, who supported their 'battle for justice'. But after three years of legal battle, Gayatri Devi acquiesced and allowed her grandchildren to become successors to their father's property. No one knows why this happened - it could have been because the two started meeting her on her frequent trips to London, or because her heart softened on its own as she realised she was close to death.

But Gayatri Devi obtained succession certificates for herself, Devraj and Lalitya, after submitting before the court that she and her grandchildren had reached an understanding and all three were legal successors of Jagat Singh's estate. As a result, Devraj and Lalitya can now claim stakes in the properties of their father as well as in the estates and movable properties of Gayatri Devi.

But the Rajmata could have nominated someone else too in the will for her own estate, estimated to be worth more than Rs 1,000 crore. This would become clear only on August 9, when the will is read. As circumstances would have it, the suit filed in the Delhi High Court by Jagat Singh would also come up for hearing a little over a fortnight after that --- on August 27.

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