The titular eighth Nizam of Hyderabad, Prince Mukarram Jah, on Thursday decided to waive his right to some residue funds from a long-drawn legal dispute in the High Court in England. Following a failed attempt by members of his extended family to stake claim over nearly 35 million pounds lying in a London bank account during a hearing in the High Court in London on Wednesday, the prince declared that he wishes to have a “clean break” from the case.
“This litigation has lasted almost the entire lifetime of our client, HEH VIII Nizam of Hyderabad. He wishes to have a clean break,” said Paul Hewitt of Withers LLP, who have acted for the eighth Nizam since proceedings were issued in the case in 2013.
“Thus, he proposes that whatever remains of the 400,000 pounds can be distributed to the wider members of the family, waiving his right to claim that money as well on the basis of the customary law which dictates that the seventh Nizam's estate passed to his heir HEH eighth Nizam,” he said.
On Wednesday, Justice Marcus Smith had dismissed attempts by Najaf Ali Khan, president of the Nizam Family Welfare Association, and Himayat Ali Mirza to challenge an October 2019 judgment in favour of India and Prince Mukarram Jah and his brother in a 70-year-old legal dispute with Pakistan over an estimated 35 million pounds belonging to the late seventh Nizam of Hyderabad at the time of Partition in 1947.
The two princes and India had reached a confidential agreement, which meant that the funds have been divided between them based on Justice Smith’s order from last year.
They also reached a confidential agreement with Christopher Lintott, the court-appointed administrator of the late seventh Nizam's English estate, by which an additional sum passed to the estate and of which an estimated 400,000 pounds remain.
At the end of a two-day ruling this week, Justice Smith approved Lintott's application to appoint a trust company to be the new personal representative of the remaining funds.
The new representative will now establish who is entitled to what remains after legal costs of the 400,000 pounds, to which Prince Mukarram Jah has agreed not to lay any claim. It is now for the PennTrust to conduct an inquiry and allocate what remains of the 400,000 pounds in light of the eighth Nizam’s offer to the wider family.
The titular eighth Nizam’s relatives, claiming to be among the 117 heirs of the late seventh Nizam, had targeted Lintott for entering into the confidential agreement with India and the princes, saying that he should have secured more money for the estate of the erstwhile seventh Nizam.
The judge pointed out that confidential agreement was approved by another High Court judge, which makes the prospect of a claim against Lintott succeeding remote.
The historic dispute revolves around 1,007,940 pounds and nine shillings transferred in 1948 from the then Nizam of Hyderabad to the high commissioner in Britain of the newly-formed state of Pakistan.
That amount had since grown in a London bank account into 35 million pounds as the Nizam's descendants, supported by India, claimed it belonged to them and Pakistan counter-claimed that it was rightfully theirs.
Last year’s High Court verdict had dismissed Pakistan's claim, marking an important conclusion to an extremely long-drawn legal battle that saw the Indian government, the princes and the administrator of the estate of Nizam VII compromising their differences and entering into a confidential settlement agreement in 2018.