Delhi High Court Orders Fresh Valuation Of Salman Rushdie's Ancestral Property, Requests Single Judge To Conclude Proceedings Expeditiously
The Delhi High Court has ordered fresh valuation of the market price of an ancestral property of Indian-born British-American writer Salman Rushdie in city's Civil Lines area which was valued by a single judge at Rs. 130 Crores in 2019. A division bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru and Justice Amit Mahajan set aside the 2019 order and remanded the matter back to the single judge to determine the...
The Delhi High Court has ordered fresh valuation of the market price of an ancestral property of Indian-born British-American writer Salman Rushdie in city's Civil Lines area which was valued by a single judge at Rs. 130 Crores in 2019.
A division bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru and Justice Amit Mahajan set aside the 2019 order and remanded the matter back to the single judge to determine the value of the property afresh, in terms of the directions issued by the Supreme Court in 2012.
The property ad-measuring 5373 square yards is situated at “No.4 Flagstaff Road, Civil Lines, Delhi.”
“We direct the Registrar to place the matter before the concerned learned Single Judge on 11th December, 2023 and request the learned Single judge to conclude the proceedings as expeditiously as possible,” the court ordered.
Rushdie's father, Anis Ahmed Rushdie, entered into an agreement to sell the property in 1970 to former Congress leader Bhiku Ram Jain's family for Rs. 3.75 lakhs.
Jain and his two sons then filed a suit for specific performance of the Agreement to Sell which was decreed in their favour in 1983. However, the decree was set aside and the suit was dismissed by High Court's division bench in 2011.
In appeal, the Supreme Court set aside the division bench's order and directed that the sale deed, to be executed in favour of Jains, would be at the market price of the property as on February 03, 2012, the date of its judgment.
Accordingly, the single judge on December 03, 2012, valued the property at Rs. 130 Crore. However, it was also directed that on failure of Jains to pay the amount, Rushdie will sell the property at the said price within the stipulated period. It was also ordered that if Rushdie also failed to sell the property for the price In question within 60 days, Jains would be entitled to purchase the property at Rs. 75 crores.
Aggrieved by the same, the Jains filed appeals which was decided by the division bench yesterday.
Setting aside the impugned order, the court said that there was no scope for the Single Judge to device a method for introducing any third party sale.
“The approach of putting in place two separate sale considerations for the suit property, one determined at ₹130 crores with the further recourse to perform the Agreement at ₹75 crores if the plaintiffs did not pay the said amount and the defendant could not secure the same by further sale, is wholly alien to the scope of determination of the market value of the suit property as on 03.12.2012 for specific performance of the Agreement to Sell, as decreed by the Supreme Court. Clearly, there cannot be two market values of the same property for specific performance of the agreement to sell,” the court said.
It refused to concur with the Single Judge's view that the price of the property as on December 03, 2012, would be higher than the price of immovable property as on the date of its determination, i.e. on December 12, 2019.
“The assumption that the prices of immovable properties have fallen since 2012 to 2019 does not appear to be supported by any evidence on record. At any rate no material has been alluded to by the Court in arriving at the said conclusion. The mitigating factors as mentioned by the plaintiffs were also required to be considered,” the court said.
Furthermore, the bench observed that while it would be open for a court to take into consideration the value of a property if evidence to the said effect was available with it, however, it would be erroneous to direct actual sale of the property to determine its value.
“Clearly, no directions could be issued by the learned Single Judge for the sale of the suit property on the failure of the plaintiffs to pay the consideration as determined,” the court said.
Title: NARENDER JAIN & ANR v. ANIS AHMED RUSHDIE (DECEASED) THR LRS & ORS and Other Connected Matters
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 1234