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Indian trust gets justice after 60-year battle

May 08, 2005 17:07 IST

It took nearly sixty years for the Rukhmani Devi Arundel Trust to get justice, but it did get its due after all, thanks to the persistent efforts of an NRI solicitor firm in London.

Philanthropist Josephine Birley Chambers, who died in 1944, had made a will leaving her estate in London to the "charitable works of Dr Arundel", husband of well-known Indian dancer Rukhmani Devi.

Dr Arundel was the leading light of the Indian theosophical society.

However, the executor refused to pass over the bequest to Dr Arundel as his public work in India was the Theosophical society of India which was not recognised as a charity under English law.

The total distributable estate was 111,873.22 pounds and as a settlement of dispute it was agreed that Rukhmini Devi Trust will get 40 per cent of the estate and the deceased's heirs the remaining 60 per cent. The 40 per cent share, including gains in share value came to 47,640.22 pounds.

As the litigation was prolonging, in the 1980s the late Sayed Mohammed, the then Indian High Commissioner here
instructed Zaiwalla and Co Solicitors to assist the Rukhmani Devi Arundel Trust in getting a final settlement.

The British Attorney General was brought in as an intervener in the court proceedings in the English High Court.

Following Zaiwalla's intervention, the Arundale Trust received 44,749.29 pounds in April 1997 and the remaining 6,469.02 pounds recently, making a total of 51,218.29 pounds, thus settling a 60-year-old dispute.

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