Decided on November 28,2002

Saida Fatima Appellant
UNION OF INDIA Respondents

Referred Judgements :-



- (1.)THE short question that arises for consideration in this case is whether the impugned order dated 16.4.1991 passed by the Reserve Bank of India revoking its earlier order dated 10.11.1987 is valid in law.
(2.)IT is not disputed that one Sadiq Ali was owner of considerable properties in the metropolitan city of Delhi. After his death, his mother Jahangira Begum inherited the said properties. Subsequently, Jahangira Begum also died. On her death, the properties devolved on Saughra Begum, Zubeda Begum, Zohra Begum, and Hamid Ali migrated to Pakistan prior to 1950 on partition of the country and they acquired Pakistani citizenship and they ceased to be Indian Citizens. The aforesaid Pakistani citizens had certain tenanted property at Ajmeri Gate. In the year 1965, the aforesaid Pakistani Nationals filed a suit for damages. The said suit was dismissed on the ground that the property stood vested firstly under the Defence of Indian Act in the Custodian and subsequently continued to remain vested in the Custodian under the Enemy Property Act, 1968. Aggrieved, the Pakistani nationals filed a revision petition before the High Court. A learned Single Judge of the High Court by judgment and order dated 10.3.1969 dismissed the revision petition holding that the said property vested in the Custodian under the Enemy Property Act and the plaintiffs who are the Pakistani citizens had no right to deal with the said property. It is not disputed that the said judgment has attained finality between the parties.
One Dr. Aminul Haq claimed to hold a power of attorney in his favour on behalf of the aforesaid Pakistani nationals and in that capacity submitted an application on behalf of Pakistani nationals before the Reserve Bank of India for permission to transfer the properties under Section 31 of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'). In the said application for permission, the aforesaid Pakistan nationals did not mention that the properties which were sought to be transferred had already vested in the Custodian under the Enemy Property Act. However, by an order dated 10.11.1987, the Reserve Bank of India without going into the question of right and title of the applicants accorded permission to transfer the properties. It is at this stage the appellants claimed that the aforesaid Pakistani nationals by a gift in the year 1980 gifted the said properties in their favour. It appears that subsequently it came to the notice of the Reserve Bank of India that the permission by the Pakistani nationals was obtained by suppression of materials facts. Under such circumstances, a show cause notice was issued to be Pakistani nationals through their Power of Attorney Holder to show cause as to why the permission granted to transfer the properties be not revoked. The appellants herein in compliance of the notice submitted a reply wherein they denied the allegations made in the show cause notice. By the impugned order dated 16.4.1991, the Reserve Bank of India came to the conclusion that the earlier permission was obtained by the Pakistani nationals through their Power of Attorney holder by suppressing materials facts and in that view of the matter permission to transfer the properties was revoked.

(3.)LEARNED senior counsel appearing for the appellants urged that there was no suppression of fact in the application for permission to transfer the property and, therefore, the order dated 16.4.1991 revoking permission granted by order dated 10.11.1987, passed by the Reserve Bank of India deserves to be set aside. We do not find any merit in this contention.

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