NCLAT Dismisses Gayatri Devi’s Grandchildren’s Claim On Jai Mahal Hotel
A deluxe room in the Jai Mahal hotel decorated with period furniture and Rajasthani paintings, (Source: Official website of Taj Hotels). 

NCLAT Dismisses Gayatri Devi’s Grandchildren’s Claim On Jai Mahal Hotel

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The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal has dismissed the claims of grandchildren of late Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur over the ownership of the iconic Jai Mahal hotel.

The appellate tribunal has set aside the previous orders of the National Company Law Tribunal, which had allowed Maharaja Dev Raj and Rajkumari Lalitya Kumar majority stake in the company Jai Mahal Hotels Pvt. Ltd., which owns the majestic property.

A two-member NCLAT bench observed that Rajkumar Dev Raj and Rajkumari Lalitya "can not claim the title on the basis of succession certificate dated Feb. 19, 2009". "The alleged acts of oppression complained of by 1st and 2nd respondents (Rajkumar Dev Raj and Rajkumari Lalitya) occurred around 2001. Maharani Gayatri Devi on the death of Maharaj Jagat Singh (her son) on Feb. 5, 1997, became his sole legatee by virtue of will dated June 23, 1996," NCLAT said in an order dated March 12.

"Therefore, Rajkumar Dev Raj and Rajkumari Lalitya cannot claim inheritance on original 5,050 shares to be legal heirs of Late Maharaj Jagat Singh on his death (Feb. 5, 1997)," it said. The NCLAT also said that "alleged acts of oppression complained of by 1st and 2nd respondents occurred around 2001" and they became shareholders of Jai Mahal Hotels on Nov. 14, 2008, and Feb. 19, 2009.

"The NCLT failed to consider the abovesaid aspects and wrongly held that Rajkumar Dev Raj and Rajkumari Lalitya inherited the shares of Late Maharaj Jagat Singh on Feb.5, 1997 on the death of Maharaj Jagat Singh," it said while setting aside the previous order.

NCLAT further said that Maharani Gayatri Devi, who was at all material times including in 2001, was the sole legatee of Late Maharaja Jagat Singh, had through a letter on April 10, 2001 left it open to Jai Mahal Hotel to offer the shares to other existing shareholders and declined to subscribe to any shares.

"In view of the aforesaid finding the impugned judgment dated Aug. 1, 2018, passed by the Tribunal cannot be upheld. It is accordingly set aside," said NCLAT. Earlier on Aug. 1, 2018, NCLT had restored the ownership of the Jai Mahal hotel in favour of the grandchildren of late Maharani Gayatri Devi. Allowing the petition of Gayatri Devi's grandchildren, NCLT had set aside the resolution of the extraordinary general meeting of the company held in March 1999 and March 2001 regarding appointments on board and dilution of their stake.

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It had restored the "position ante immediately upon the death of Maharaja Jai Singh " and set aside the resolution passed in the board meeting regarding allotment of shares. NCLT had restored their original position of the shareholding as well as the board of directors, and thereby making the grandchildren of Maharani Gayatri Devi as the owners of the Jai Mahal hotel in Jaipur.

The grandchildren had earlier won the battle for the transmission of their father's shares in their names. Built in 1745, the Jai Mahal Palace is now operated as a hotel by Taj group of Hotels. It has 94 rooms and six suites.

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