New Delhi: The High Court of the United Kingdom has ruled in India’s favour, dismissing Pakistan’s decades-old claim on a sum of 1 million pounds which the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad had sent to the then Pakistan ambassador in London for safekeeping in 1948. The amount has now appreciated to at least 35 million pounds.
The two neighbouring countries have been fighting a legal battle to lay hands on this money. While the descendants of the Nizam — Mukarram Jah and his younger brother Muffakham Jah — joined hands with the Indian government, the Pakistan side reportedly claimed that the amount was a payment for supplying arms to the Hyderabad state during India’s annexation in 1948.
In a statement, India’s ministry of external affairs department has said, “The Court has issued a wide-ranging judgment today after analysing documentation going back more than 70 years and embracing the law of constructive and resulting trusts, unjust enrichment, foreign act of state, illegality and limitation of actions. The Court rejected arguments advanced by Pakistan that the dispute was non-justiciable, either in whole or in part; that the doctrine of illegality somehow barred recovery; or that the claims of other parties were time-barred. The Court held that Pakistan’s pleading of limitation was an “abuse of process”, and that remedies in trust law and restitution were available against both Pakistan and the Bank.”
The 166-page judgement by Justice Marcus Smith also touched upon issues like attempts by India to forcibly annex Hyderabad. Referring to this, the judge said that though the then government of Hyderabad was involved in the purchase of weapons, there is no evidence that links this amount of money to weapon-purchase. The Nizam’s successor can be no one other than the princes or India, the judgment said. Pakistan was only a trustee, the judges concluded.
According to a PTI report, Pakistan had claimed the fund in 2013. It said that the fund was sent to keep it out of India’s possession.