According to the court, Jasminder's father, however, claims that:
these and other items of property are joint family assets which are held in accordance with the principles of what is known as the Mitakshara. This is the legal code ... by which a Hindu family living and eating together as a composite household may hold its property. The code which is of very ancient origin applies as much to Sikhs as to Hindus. This is relevant because, as their name implies, the Singh family are Sikhs. The beneficial interest in property of a joint Hindu (or Sikh) family, if held subject to the Mitakshara, belongs jointly to the male members of that family down to the third generation from a common male ancestor.Jasminder responds that: "until this dispute first arose he had never even heard of the Mitakshara, let alone had any understanding of how it operates."
The court prefaced a lengthy review of the family's history with this observation:
If nothing else this litigation has highlighted the extraordinary enterprise that has enabled the Singh family, in the space of just two generations, to rise from obscurity and very modest circumstances in what was then rural British India, overcome all manner of difficulties, come eventually to this country and make a fortune for itself. I dare say it is not untypical of many such families but there can be few whose rise has been quite so meteoric. The family's story as it unfolded in the course of this trial has a heroic quality to it. It has made it all the more painful to have to listen to the tragic differences that now divide its members.In a 248 paragraph opinion, th High Court judge concluded:
At the end of the day the question is whether Father has demonstrated that as between himself and Jasminder there existed an understanding that any property which they or either of them acquired would be held as joint family property.... I am unable to find that there was such an understanding.[Thanks to Law & Religion UK for the lead.]