(Juhi Aishwary, Intern Journalist): A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the government grant to the Nawab of Arcot ie Prince of Arcot and giving him the title of Hereditary Prince of Arcot. The petition states that the grant of a hereditary title of Prince of Arcot after the country becomes independent and the Indian Constitution comes into force, is against Articles 14, 15 and 16 (equality before law) of the Constitution. It has also been said that it is illegal to spend more than 2 crores of government funds annually on the maintenance of Prince of Arcot’s palace.
S Kumaravelu, who lives in Tamil Nadu Chennai, has filed this petition in the Supreme Court through advocating Vishnu Shankar Jain. Kumaravelu has filed this special permission petition in the Supreme Court after the PIL was dismissed from the Madras High Court.
Many questions arose
The petition has raised the legal question whether the title given to a family or a person by a letter by the British Government can continue after the Constitution of India comes into force. After the constitution comes into force, one’s special status and hereditary title can continue according to Part Three of the Constitution. Does Articles 14, 15, and 16 of the Constitution allow the Prince of Arcot to continue the title and give palace and pension?
No violation of Article 18 of the Constitution
The petition also raised the legal question that when no male heir was given in 1952 of the letter dated 2 August 1870 giving the title of Prince of Arcot to the British Government, then the Government of India was renewed on 23-24 October 1952. Recognition of the title of Arcot is not a violation of Article 18 of the Constitution. It has been said that when the Privy Purse (pension and grants to kings) was abolished on 7 September 1979 through the 26th Constitution Amendment, it is not against the intention of the constitutional amendment to continue even after that for some people.
The petition said whether the title and building rights issued to those who had been shown loyalty to the British Raj could continue in independent India as well. Challenging the continuation of the title of Prince of Arcot and maintenance of the palace at the expense of the government, it has been said that while continuing it, the government has forgotten that the law applicable under Article 372 (1) of the Constitution will apply only to the Constitution. The provisions of part three include articles 14, 15, 16, and 18.