Constitutional bench quashes petition filed by former princess

Kathmandu, February 7

Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court today quashed former princess Prerana Rajya Laxmi  Devi Singh’s petition she had filed to reclaim 15 ropani and one ana land gifted by her father Gyanendra Shah when he was the king.

Singh had filed the petition challenging the Supreme Court’s 5 January 2017 decision that ordered the government to nationalise 15 ropani and one ana land owned by Singh. She had filed the case at the Constitutional bench of the SC on 21 December 2018.

She had stated in her petition that the SC’s verdict of nationalising her 15 ropani and one ana land, also known as Vijayaghar in Chhauni, be declared ultra vires. She had urged the court to scrap the government’s decision of nationalising her property, which she got as a gift from her father.

She had stated in her petition that the ownership of the property was held by former king Birendra, which was transferred to her father, former king Gyanendra before it was gifted to her. She said  Nepal Trust Act, which came into force on 6 January 2008, was retroactively enforced from 1 June 2001, and hence it was illegal.

She stated in her petition that the Supreme Court’s conclusion that sections 4 (1) and (2) of Nepal Trust Act-2008, have retroactive effects, which allowed nationalisation of her property, and were unconstitutional and unfair. Hence, these  two provisions should be declared ultra vires.

Singh had stated in her petition that the government decided only on 25 October 2010 to nationalise property held by former king Birendra, former queen Aishwarya and his family members, but she had acquired the property as a gift before 6 January 2008.

She had also argued that the government only had the legal mandate to manage the property held by Birendra, Aishwarya and their family on 6 January 2008, and not preceding the date.

She argued as per Article 27 of the Constitution of Nepal, which was in force till 15 January 2007, the properties of the royal family were inviolable. She said there was no prevailing law before 3 March 2002, that allowed nationalisation of the royal family’s property.

She said that Vijayaghar was inherited by Birendra and was his personal property. A full bench of then chief justice Sushila Karki and justices Deepak Kumar Karki and Sapana Pradhan Malla had struck down the order of the bench led by then chief justice Ram Kumar Prasad Shah and justice Cholendra SJB Rana issued on 21 June 2015, that ordered the Nepal Trust to return the land to Singh.

The land situated in posh area of Tahachal is worth Rs one billion as per the current market rates.