KATHMANDU, June 27: The Supreme Court's verdict, which annulled the government's decision to transfer more than 15 ropanis of land being used by ex-King Gyanendra's daughter Prerana Singh to Nepal Trust, has been found to contradict the preamble of the Nepal Trust Act.
A division bench of Chief Justice Ram Kumar Prasad Shah and Cholendra SJB Rana on Sunday had annulled the government's decision and ordered that Prerna be allowed to retain possession of the land.
The division bench had issued the order stating that clauses 3 and 4 of the Nepal Trust Act 2008 has provisions for transfer of properties owned by King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya and their family in the name of Nepal Trust but it does not say anything about the properties of their other relatives.
However, the documents produced in the court case show that the land was owned by King Birendra till his death.
The preamble of the Nepal Trust Act states that the trust was established in order to manage and utilize properties of King Birendra, Queen Aishwarya and their family members.
A source at the Attorney General's Office said the verdict has ignored the fact that the land was owned by late King Birendra till his death.
The documents issued by Land Revenue Office Kalanki clearly show that the land was transferred in the name of Narayanhiti Royal Palace from the name of King Birendra on May 18, 2005. A letter sent by Sarada Prasad Pradhan, then top official of the palace, to the DhukutiBibhag (Treasure Department) of the palace also shows that the land at Chhauni was transferred in the name of Royal Palace on May 24, 2005.
“Our office has yet to receive the full text of the verdict but it looks like the division bench has ignored the preamble of the act and the fact that the land was owned by King Birendra,” argued the source.
Prerana had moved the Supreme Court on February 8, 2015 almost seven years after the government took decision on December 16, 2007 to transfer the land to the trust. She had been claiming that the land at Chhauni, Kathmandu was provided to her by her father Gyanendra in dowry and that transferring the land in the name of Nepal Trust is against the law. She had been presenting a letter from the royal palace dated July 3, 2006 to claim the land was given in dowry by her father. “Not a single record at the Land Revenue Office shows that the property was registered in the name of Prerana Singh at any point of time,” claimed the source.
Meanwhile, the trust and the Office of Attorney General plan to file a review petition at the Supreme Court. “The Trust Office has already informed the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees about the verdict. The board would meet soon and decide whether to file the review petition,” said Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, acting secretary at the trust.
Prime Minister is the patron of the trust while the Minister for Home Affairs is the chairperson of the board.
The government, immediately after monarchy was overthrown after the April movement in 2006, formed the trust with the mandate to acquire all properties owned by late King Birendra Shah, Queen Aishwarya and their family members, preserve it and bring them into proper use.