Baron Sinha

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Baron Sinha, of Raipur in the Presidency of Bengal, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom.[1] It was created in 1919 for Sir Satyendra Prasanno Sinha, who was the first (and only) Indian ever to be elevated to the hereditary peerage. There was controversy over the succession on his death in 1928. He ought to have been succeeded in his title by his first son, Aroon Kumar Sinha. However, Aroon Sinha had been born at a time when there was no system of registration of births and marriages in India, so he was unable to prove his claim to the title to the satisfaction of the House of Lords at that time.

In 1936, Aroon Sinha presented petition for a writ of summons to the House of Lords. The petition was referred to the Committee for Privileges on 27 June 1938, and a Commission was appointed to take evidence in Calcutta, on this birth and marriage. Ultimately, on 25 July 1939, the Committee for Privileges decided that Lord Sinha had succeeded in his claim.[2] The decision remarks that the decision was not precedent for a peer who had legally married two wives (at the same time), and that there is no British law on heirship in the case of a polygamous marriage; but in this case that difficulty did not arise - and in fact the first Lord Sinha had belonged to the Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, a variety of Hinduism which required monogamy.[3]

More controversy followed in the early 1950s, when the second Lord Sinha was refused a British passport: eventually, in 1955, he was issued with a passport which described him as a British subject.[citation needed] At his death, the title passed to his elder son, the third baron, but he did not lay a formal claim to the title. He was succeeded by his son, the fourth baron, a Calcutta tea broker who likewise did not claim the title. The fourth baron died young and without issue in 1992. He was succeeded in the barony by his uncle, a retired sales manager and the younger son of the second baron. Prior to the death of the fourth baron, however, it was thought that his uncle, the heir presumptive, had predeceased his nephew, possibly without heirs. Desiring to keep his new status a secret, the new Lord Sinha did not register his claim with the British authorities. In 1996, the fourth baron's sister notified the British press that her uncle was still alive and resident in England. He was duly recognised as the fifth Baron Sinha, but continued to refuse his claim to the peerage. On the death of the fifth baron in 1999, he was succeeded by his elder son, the present sixth baron, who did not claim his seat in the House of Lords before most hereditary peers lost their right to sit in parliament as a result of the House of Lords Act 1999. The sixth baron continues to claim the title as of 2015.[4]

The current holder of the title, Arup Kumar Sinha, is British citizen and was brought up in Britain. As of 2005, he was working as a travel agent. He does not appear on the Roll of the Peerage; as a result, he may not use the title in an official capacity until he registers with the College of Arms and provides the necessary documentation to be listed on the roll.

Barons Sinha (1919)[edit]

  • Satyendra Prasanna Sinha, 1st Baron Sinha (1863–1928)
  • Arun Kumar Sinha, 2nd Baron Sinha (1887-1967)
  • Sudhindra Prasanna Sinha, 3rd Baron Sinha (1920-1989)
  • Susanta Prasanna Sinha, 4th Baron Sinha (1953-1992)
  • Aninda Kumar Sinha, 5th Baron Sinha (1930-1999)
  • Arup Kumar Sinha, 6th Baron Sinha (1966-)

The heir presumptive is the present holder's brother the Hon. Dilip Kumar Sinha (b. 1967).


Further reading[edit]