Legal Heirs Of Former Ruler Entitled To Annuity After Privy Purse Abolition? Supreme Court Stays Kerala HC Order

Sheryl Sebastian

16 Sep 2023 3:23 PM GMT

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  • Legal Heirs Of Former Ruler Entitled To Annuity After Privy Purse Abolition? Supreme Court Stays Kerala HC Order

    The Supreme Court on Friday (15.09.2023), stayed the order of the Kerala High Court that had directed the State Government to pay annuity to the legal heirs of the Malayala Brahmin family that possessed sovereign rights over the territory of Paravur in present day Ernakulam district. A bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah issued notice in the appeal filed by the...

    The Supreme Court on Friday (15.09.2023), stayed the order of the Kerala High Court that had directed the State Government to pay annuity to the legal heirs of the Malayala Brahmin family that possessed sovereign rights over the territory of Paravur in present day Ernakulam district.

    A bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah issued notice in the appeal filed by the State while staying the order of the division bench of the High Court.

    When the Malayala Brahmin family relinquished its sovereign rights over Paravur to the ruler of Travancore State in 764AD, it was agreed that annuity would be paid to the family as consideration. In 1971, the annuity was treated as family pension.

    When Ravi Sharma Raja Krishna Raja died in 2011, Ravi Parameshwara Raja as the eldest male of the family applied for pension. The State Government took the stand that pension cannot be allowed as the benefit granted to his predecessor was a personal right. The matter then reached the High Court and a single bench in 2020 quashed the government decision. The single bench directed the State to issue pension payment order and the annuity amount along with accrued arrears. This decision was later affirmed by the division bench.

    The State in its appeal before the Apex Court has argued that by the 26th constitutional amendment, by which Article 363(A) was inserted, all existing official titles conferred on erstwhile rulers were de-recognized. Since, this amendment put an end to privy purses and withdrew the personal privilege given to erstwhile Rulers or successors, the respondents are no longer entitled to annuity from the State, the appeal states.

    The High Court had held that the State is obligated to pay annuity on the basis of the agreement executed by the respondent’s family with the Travancore State, and later by the United States of Travancore - Cochin, which remains unchanged, having been accepted by the State.

    The High Court had also held that the deletion/insertion of the provisions of the 26th amendment to the Constitution, would not alter the obligation of the State under Article 295(2), since it is a stand-alone provision independent of the provision relating to the privy purse which was deleted from the Constitution.

    Sr. Adv. Jaideep Gupta, AOR C. K. Sasi, and Adv. Meena K Poulose appeared for the State of Kerala 

    Case Title: State Of Kerala & Ors V. Ravi Parameswara Raja

    Click here to read/download order

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