The Rajasthan High Court has asked the Central and State governments if titles like Raja/ Nawab/ Maharaja/ Rajkumar can be used as a prefix by persons when filing cases in courts after the introduction of Article 363A into the Constitution [Bhagwati Singh v. Raja Laxman Singh].

After reading the case title of a petition and noting that respondent No.1 in the issue was titled “Raja Laxman Singh,” a bench led by Justice Sameer Jain has requested a response from the Union and the Rajasthan Government.

After noticing that one of the respondents in a case before him was named ‘Raja Laxman Singh,’ Justice Sameer Jain proceeded to investigate the matter.

The Court pointed to the 26th Amendment to the Constitution of India, Article 363-A, and Article 14 [Equality before the law] at the outset to stress that titles bestowed on rulers of the Indian State no longer exist and have been abolished. The privy purse, which was paid to past rulers of princely states, was abolished by the Indian Constitution’s 26th Amendment, and a provision to that effect was included into the Constitution, particularly Article 363 A.

“Let limited notices be issued to the Additional Solicitor General RD Rastogi representing Central Government and learned Advocate General MS Singhvi for the State to address upon the same issue. Whether after the insertion of Article 363-A and 26th Amendment in the Constitution of India, the said title of Raja, Nawab, Maharaja, Rajkumar as prefix can be filed/addressed in the constitutional court or the learned trial court below,” the order said.

The Court noted that recognition and titles granted to rulers of the erstwhile princely States in India no longer exist and have been abolished after reading the Constitution (26th Amendment) Act 1971 (Privy purse paid to rulers was abolished), Article 363A (Recognition granted to Rulers of Indian States to cease and privy purses to be abolished), and Article 14 (Equality before Law) of the Constitution of India.

The Court directed that limited notices be issued to the Additional Solicitor General and the Advocate General for the following issue after the petitioner’s counsel submitted that the said title had been filed before the trial court and as a result had to be repeated/generated before the High Court.: “Whether after the insertion of Article 363-A and 26th Amendment in the Constitution of India, the said title of Raja,Nawab, Rajkumar as prefix can be filed/ addressed in the constitutional court or the learned trial court below”

The single-judge issued notifications to the Central government and the State government to address the issue after the petitioner claimed that he had filed the case with the same title before the trial court and that it had to be reiterated or generated before the High Court as well.

On February 3, 2022, the case will be heard again.

The petitioner was represented by Suruchi Kasliwal, an attorney. The respondent was represented by Anupam Bhargava, an attorney.

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