India's former princely rules won back their titles and tax-free Government incomes on Tuesday (15 December) in a Supreme Court judgement.
GV EXT Court building
CU Justice court sing TILT TO insignia
SV People outside court waiting.
SV Maharajah Karni Singh outside court congratulated
CU Karni Singh (2 shots)
CU Singh answers questions. (SOF)
SV Karni Singh down steps
SV Singh shakes hands with friends and into car.
QUESTION: "Are you happy?"
SEQ. 6: SINGH: "Well I'm happy for democracy. I hope that the people will have the courage to stand up for the rule of law. It is now up to the people to see that they can bring about pressure on the government to accept this not as a defeat of government so much as the vindication of the truth. This is the important thing. And as far as the princes are concerned they were called all sorts of names in parliament and elsewhere including traitors and we have always maintained that we have been loyal Indian citizens and I think the Supreme Court will vindicate that position with this decision."
Initials CM/PW/BB/2350 CM/PW/BB/0014
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Background: India's former princely rules won back their titles and tax-free Government incomes on Tuesday (15 December) in a Supreme Court judgement.
One of the Princes, Maharajah Karni Singh, commented on their fight for their privileges against the Indian Government soon after the Court had reached its majority decision in New Delhi.
The Court declared illegal and unconstitutional an order issued by President V.V. Giri three months ago which stripped the remaining 320 former rulers of their titles, special privileges and privy purses. The judgement is a major setback for Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and may mean an early general election.
But Mrs. Gandhi told Parliament that she remained committed to abolish the privy purses and privileges "by appropriate constitutional means". The Princes received the tax-free incomes, totalling about 48 million rupees (2,600,000 Sterling) a year, under the covenants by which they merged their states with India at independence in 1947. The Covenants are protected by the constitution.
The right to property enshrined in the constitution has already proved a stumbling block to a major reform by Mrs. Gandhi's Government--the nationalisation of the banks.
After a bill for the Government takeover of 14 major banks was passed last year, the Supreme Court threw it out on the ground that it violated the fundamental property right in the Constitution.
Major problem for those who demand abolition of the property right is a Supreme Court judgment four years ago that Parliament--which can ordinarily amend the Constitution by a two-thirds majority, does not have the power to change the fundamental rights section.
Maharajah Karni Singh made this comment for the Princes' point of view: