Kapurthala House to remain under possession of Punjab government

Chandigarh (Punjab): The Kapurthala House, the palatial property of the late Maharaja of Kapurthala, will continue to be in the possession of the Punjab government and will function as the official residence of the Punjab Chief Minister in New Delhi, according to an order by the Delhi High Court.

The court in its ruling on July 31, ordered that the property could not be sold off as the Maharaja had lost the title to the property subsequent to its requisition.

A two-judge bench of the High Court, comprising Justices S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh, ruled in favour of the Punjab government.

The case was argued in the court on behalf of the Punjab government by senior advocate Kapil Sibal.

The Bench dismissed the petitioner’s right to the property on the ground that the Maharaja of Kapurthala had no title to the property after its requisition. Hence, he could not have conferred a valid title on the predecessor-in-interest of the petitioners.

The main respondents were the Union of India, which submitted that it had handed over possession of the property to Punjab, finding it to be the rightful owner.

Late Radheshyam Makhanilal Seksaria, who had brought the property from late Maharaja Paramjit Singh a former ruler of the Kapurthala state, had filed a suit in 1960 for declaration of his title to the property in the District Court, Delhi, from where it was subsequently transferred to the High Court of Delhi in 1967. Upon his death, his children had become plaintiffs in the suit.

In 1989, a single judge of the HC decided in favour of the plaintiffs, on the grounds that the property had been derequisitioned by the GoI in 1987, on the expiry of 17 years as mandated by the 1952 Act. The Punjab government had gone in appeal soon after and a Division Bench of the HC held that the plaintiffs had no right at all in the property in question.