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Salman Rushdie's ancestral house valued at Rs 130 crore by Delhi HC


ANI General News
The Delhi High Court has estimated the market price of Booker Prize-winning author Salman Rushdie's ancestral house in Delhi's Civil Lines area at Rs 130 crore.
The value of the property, which is adjacent to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal residence, was determined by the court while dealing with a 50-year-old legal-battle between Salman Rushdie's father and Congress leader Bhikhu Ram Jain.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, in his recent order, stated: "Having given my thought to the matter, I am of the opinion that while determining the price at Rs. 130 crore and on plaintiffs failing to pay the said price, a condition should be imposed on the defendant to, within stipulated time sell the property at minimum Rs. 130 crore."
The dispute was taken up to the Supreme Court, which, in 2012, ruled in favor of Jain's and directed Rushdies to hand over the house to them. The top court, however, directed the Delhi High Court to take account of all relevant facts and circumstances to decide the market price of the disputed property.
The High Court has now observed that the best indicator of market price would be the circle rate and said: "Though circle rate as on 3rd December 2012 was reported to be about Rs. 51 crore but since the circle rate, the very next day was revised to Rs. 75 crore, it is felt that the said circle rate correctly represents the market price as on December 3, 2012, rather than the circle rate of Rs. 51 crore fixed long back."
The Supreme Court judgment has come on a suit pending since 1977, seeking specific performance of an Agreement to Sell dated December 22, 1970, by the deceased defendant Anis Ahmed Rushdie, father of Salman Rushdie with deceased plaintiff and congress leader Bhiku Ram Jain, of property for a total sale consideration of Rs 3.75 lakh. Out of the proposed amount, Jain had paid a sum of Rs 50,000 to Anis Ahmed Rushdie.
During the pendency of proceedings, Bhikhu and Anis, expired. The sole defendant Anis Ahmed Rushdie also died and was substituted by his heirs Salman Rushdie, Nabeelah S Shah, Nevid Hartenstein, and Samin Rushdie Momen.
Bhikhu Jain's son Narendra Jain, one of the nominees in the petition, expressed unhappiness with the high court decision.
Narendra Jain, 65, told ANI that he will decide his strategy after evaluating the high court order. He said that the high court estimated price is not appropriate as the property does not have that much cost value.
Recalling the matter which legal battle began in 1977, Narendra Jain on October 5, 1983, the high court single judge bench had passed a favorable order on his side and allowed to execute and register the sale deed in pursuance to Agreement to Sell dated December 22, 1970.
The defendant filed an appeal before a division bench of Delhi High Court and on October 31, 2011, the division bench of high court set aside the single-judge bench order. The plaintiffs preferred Special Leave Petition (SLP) to the Supreme Court which was granted vide judgment dated December 3, 2012.
The high court, in its order, said: "What has however bothered me and which has resulted in a delay in pronouncement of this order, is that by merely bringing an offer for Rs. 130 crores, the defendant should not derive an unfair advantage. It was felt that the defendant, by bringing an inflated offer, should not be permitted to wriggle out of the decree for specific performance if the plaintiffs were unable to accept the same."
The High Court also passed various directions including that plaintiffs as an indication to purchase the property at the said price, the plaintiffs within 90 days, have to deposit in the court 10 percent of the purchase consideration equivalent to Rs. 13 crores.
The high court also ordered that on the defendant being unable to sell the property to another for minimum Rs. 130 crore, the plaintiffs to within 60 days thereof become entitled to purchase the property for Rs 75 crores; and, on the plaintiffs failing to purchase the property for Rs 75 crores, the defendant to stand relieved of the agreement.

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First Published: Dec 30 2019 | 2:54 PM IST

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