"Govt will take steps as it wants": Delhi High Court refuses to hear plea seeking India to recover Rs. 1 trn debt from Pakistan

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A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Navin Chawla of the Delhi High Court has refused to hear a petition seeking the recovery of Rs. 1 trillion in debt, allegedly owed by Pakistan to India, stating that the government was cognizant of the issue and will take whatever steps it deems fit.

The petitioner argued that the money belongs to the Indian government and elaborated, "Just after Partition, around Rs. 20 crore was given by India to Pakistan, with which they attacked Kashmir. Thousands of people were killed but our money is still with Pakistan. It has now come to around Rs. 1 trillion. In Pakistani currency it comes to Rs. 2.5 trillion. Each bullet that our soldiers face is paid by our money. I can't say anything about political parties who are in the government, but request the Court to pass directions."

However, the bench concurred with the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma's reasoning that this is a matter of policy and regardless of sentiments involved no directions can be issued by the Court in the matter.

The Court was hearing a petition by one Om Sehgal who, placing documents of record including statements of accounts, explained that Rs. 300 crore had been loaned by India to Pakistan both pre and post-Independence with the amount now compounding to Rs. 1 trn including interest on the loan.

Arguing that Pakistan has been using the Indian government's money to repeatedly attack India, and that countless Indian soldiers have lost their lives in the wars waged by the neighbour, he urged the Court to direct the Ministry of Finance to pursue the repayment of these debts.

Sehgal contended that according to the Partition Agreement between India and Pakistan, for ‘movable assets and liabilities’ of United India, India was to pay to Pakistan Rs. 75 crores while Pakistan was to pay a sum of Rs. 300 crores to India. He further relied on the speech of R . K. Shanmukham Chetty, then Minister of Finance, which introduced the budget for the year 1948-49 referrinng to these figures.

Sehgal submitted that "while India gracefully paid it's part of pre-partition debt of Rs. 75 Crore promptly, in just 6 months of getting independence," Pakistan has not made any payment till date.

Cause Title: Om Sehgal vs Union of India & Anr.