J&K royal family moves court claiming ownership of Raj Bhawan

Apr 24, 2015, 08:50 IST | PTI

Jammu: The erstwhile royal family of Jammu and Kashmir today moved a local court seeking possession back of some buildings in the Raj Bhawan which it alleged were "illegally occupied" by the state government.

Trustee of Hari-Tara Charitable Trust, Karan Singh, filed the lawsuit in the court of the Principal Sessions Judge against the state government for "illegally" occupying the Bhawan, once known as Maharaja's palace buildings.

Principal Sessions Judge R S Jain issued a notice to the Chief Secretary and the PWD Secretary of the state government for filing objections before May 12.

"It is respectfully prayed that the court may kindly be pleased to pass a decree of ejectment against the defendants (J&K government) from the suit-property known as 'Ranbir Mahal' and 'Karan Niwas' along with land measuring 126 kanals, servant quarters, lawns, orchards, trees, fences, ditches, easements and other appurtenances thereof including passage, pathways and road leading up thereto from the city entrance with five guard-rooms of the said entrance, (hereafter referred as 'suit-property') land, situated at Jammu and directing the defendants to hand-over the vacant possession to the plaintiff of the suit property," the petition filed by Dr Karan Singh's lawyer Vikram Sharma said.

It also claimed that the Maharani of J&K, late Yasho Rajya Lakshmi, owned 'Ranbir Mahal' and 'Karan Niwas' buildings of the Raj Bhawan, which was taken on a month-to-month lease by the J&K governor. The lease contained a clause to commence with effect from May 1, 1967 by mutual consent on a monthly rent of Rs 4,000, the petition said.

On January 15, 1970, the Maharani and Singh dedicated their properties to their Hari-Tara Charitable Trust. After her death in May 2009, Singh became the trustee. "The trust made several requests to J&K government to vacate the suit premises but they kept on delaying the same...

Constrained thus, the plaintiff trust initiated legal process for getting back the possession of the suit property by terminating the lease as provided by law, the latter being a lease from month to month," the petition claimed.

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