Chandigarh, Aug 7 (IANS) The Kapurthala House, currently the official residence of the Punjab Chief Minister in New Delhi, will continue to remain in the state government’s possession, after the Delhi High Court rejected the erstwhile Kapurthala ruler’s right to sell it.
In the July 31 order, the copy of which was received on Tuesday, a high court Division Bench, comprising Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice Talwant Singh, ruled that the Mansingh Road property could not be sold as the ruler had lost title to the property following its requisition by the government of India.
Sharing details of the case, Advocate General Atul Nanda said Kapurthala was a sovereign state till its merger with the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU) and the subsequent merger of PEPSU into the dominion of India.
The property was requisitioned through an order on June 17, 1950 under Section 3 of the Delhi Premises (Requisition and Acquisition) Act of 1947.
On December 4, 1950, the government took possession of the property from Radheshyam Makhanilal Seksaria, who was said to have purchased it from Paramjit Singh, a former ruler of the Kapurthala state, by a registered sale deed, dated January 10, 1950, for Rs 1.5 lakh.
Incidentally, the 1947 Act was repealed by the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Property Act of 1952. Under Section 24 of the 1952 Act, properties requisitioned under the 1947 Act were deemed to have been requisitioned under the 1952 Act.
The dispute arose when Seksaria filed a suit in 1960 for declaration of his title to the property in the district court of Delhi. The case was later transferred to the High Court of Delhi in 1967.
During the suit’s pendency, Seskaria died and his four children were substituted as plaintiffs in their capacity as his legal representatives.
In 1989, a single-judge Bench of the high court decided in favour of plaintiffs, on the ground that the property had been derequisitioned by the government in 1987 on the expiry of 17 years as mandated by the 1952 Act.
The Punjab government appealed soon after and a Division Bench held that plaintiffs had no right on the property. The Bench dismissed the petitioner’s right to the property on the ground that the Kapurthala ruler had no title to the property after its requisition.
The lack of title of petitioners to the property would obviously relate to the date of the original sale deed under which a such claim was being made, the court ruled.