The battle for ownership of a property belonging to the diversified Singhania clan in Juhu in Mumbai’s western suburbs is back in the limelight, with the Bombay High Court listing the matter for final hearing.
The property was valued at Rs 89 crore in 2009.
In 2010, leading industrialist and former sheriff of Mumbai Vijaypat Singhania and other family members had challenged a 2009 HC order that dismissed an arbitration petition filed by Singhania and his family, seeking to divide and partition the properties of the family firm, JK Bankers. The HC order also had directed that the Juhu property be given to Kolkata-based Lakshmipat Singhania’s family.
Vijaypat Singhania had a dispute with his two brothers from Kanpur and Kolkata, who also have an equal share (one-third each) in properties in Mumbai and Kanpur, together valued at Rs 130 crore. Earlier, the Rs 41-crore property in Kanpur was distributed between the Mumbai and Kanpur groups.
The Singhania family, which owns the JK Organisation, was formed by Lala Kamlapatji and his father Lala Juggilalji in the 1920s by setting up the first cotton mill in northern India, JK Cotton Spinning Mill, and thereon diversified into jute, iron and steel, cotton, hosiery and sugar. After him, Kamlapatji's three sons, Padampat, Kailashpat and Lakshmipat diversified the business further.
Vijaypat, son of Kailashpat Singhania, along with Gautam Singhania, runs the business of Raymond, while Lakshmipat Singhania's family based in Kolkata runs JK Paper and JK Tyres among others. Padampat Singhania’s family is based out of Kanpur.
In 2006, a dispute in the Singhania family over distribution of property was taken up in the Supreme Court in which the court favoured arbitration as a suitable way of settling family disputes. The court, at that time, had appointed retired judge Justice S N Variava as an arbitrator to settle the matter, that resulted as a result of dissolution of a partnership firm owned by Singhania brothers in 1987.
The bench, at that time, had set aside the Bombay High Court order which had dismissed the arbitration suit filed by Hari Shankar Singhania and other members of the Lakshmipat Singhania family claiming one-third of the share from the 14 immovable properties situated in Kanpur and one in Mumbai, on the ground that application was filed beyond the period of limitation.