India's oldest pending case finally resolved after 72 years
At 72 years, India's longest litigation was decided this week by a panel of the country's oldest high court, whose current Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava was born a decade after the case was filed in 1951, TOI reported.
While the Calcutta High Court would be relieved that the litigation pertaining to the liquidation proceedings of the former Berhampore Bank Ltd is finally over, it still has two of the country's next five oldest pending cases to deal with – all of which were filed in 1952, a year after the one at the top of the pile.
Two of the three remaining cases are civil suits being heard in civil courts in Malda, Bengal, and one is pending in the Madras high court. The Malda courts have scheduled hearings in March and November to try to resolve these contentious cases.
The Berhampore case was the oldest to be heard in any Indian court until January 9, when Justice Ravi Krishan Kapur's disposal decision from September 19 last year was signed, sealed, and delivered with a typographical correction.
The lawsuit began with a Calcutta high court ruling on November 19, 1948, to wind up the then-insolvent and litigation-plagued Berhampore Bank. On January 1, 1951, a petition opposing the liquidation procedures was submitted and registered as "Case No. 71/1951" on the same day.
Berhampore Bank had been involved in a number of lawsuits to recover money from borrowers. Several of these debtors went to court to contest the bank's claims.
According to court records, the petition challenging the bank's liquidation was scheduled for hearing before the HC twice last September, but no one appeared.
After that, Justice Kapur requested a report from the court's liquidator. The assistant liquidator informed the bench on September 19 that the lawsuit had been settled in August 2006. It was discovered that this was not changed in the records, resulting in the case remaining on the pending list.