Rejecting arguments by Pakistan, the UK High Court on Wednesday ruled in favour of India in a 70-year-old legal dispute involving 35 million pounds that belonged to the erstwhile Nizam of Hyderabad and was kept in London’s National Westminster Bank.
The Fund was being held in the account of the High Commissioner of Pakistan to the UK Rahimtoola since September 1948.
It had been the subject of earlier proceedings in the 1950s in which the UK House of Lords set aside the proceedings brought by the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad claiming the fund, as Pakistan invoked state immunity.
In 2013, Pakistan began fresh proceedings in the case, thereby waiving state immunity. A subsequent attempt by Pakistan to discontinue the proceedings was rejected as an abuse of process by the UK Court.
On Wednesday, the Court issued a wide-ranging judgment 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 MEA said in a statement.
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.
In Wednesday’s judgment, the UK High Court rejected Pakistan’s claim that the Fund had been intended as payment for arms shipments or as an outright gift.
TheCourt held that beneficial ownership in the Fund as at 1948 lay with the seventh Nizam, and that it had been held on trust to his benefit and that of his successors in title since then.
Having found that the seventh Nizam was beneficially entitled to the fund, the Court concluded that those claiming in right of the Nizam i.e.India and the two grandsons of Nizam were now entitled to have the Fund.