Constitutional bench upholds seizure of Prerana’s land

Published On: February 8, 2020 07:59 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, Dec 8: The Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court on Friday upheld a three-year-old apex court verdict that paved the way for nationalizing land worth hundreds of millions belonging to Prerana Rajya Laxmi Singh.

A five-member constitutional bench headed by Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana has upheld a three-year-old verdict handed down by a three-member full bench. The others on the bench are  Justices Meera Khadka, Harikrishna Karki, Prakash Raut and Anil Kumar Sinha.

The verdict closes the chapter on the legal battle over the property, which now comes under the Nepal Trust.

The bench did not even issue a show-cause notice even though the petitioner had sought an interim order against execution of the earlier verdict. The bench annulled the petition after two hours of pleading by senior advocates Badri Bahadur Karki, Purna Man Shakya, Shyam Kharel and advocates Madhav Kumar Basnet and Kedar Dahal. They urged the constitutional bench to annul the earlier verdict and return the land to the erstwhile princess. The counsel for the petitioner claimed that as the land was a kind of dowry received by her,   nationalizing it was an erroneous move.

On December 22 last year, a writ petition was filed challenging the verdict to nationalize the 15 ropani [1.89 acres] of land. It sought the striking down of the judgment through the extraordinary jurisdiction of the constitutional bench.

Prerana filed the writ petition seeking a revocation of the earlier judgment of the full bench of then chief justice Sushila Karki and justices Deepak Kumar Karki and Sapana Pradhan Malla.

The petition also challenged the notifications of the Nepal Trust and Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office to vacate the land in question.

Then CJ Karki’s full bench had nationalized the property, overturning an earlier division bench verdict issued by then chief justice Ram Kumar Prasad Sah and justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana (the current CJ) four years ago.

Nepal Trust and Kathmandu Metropolitan City Office had already issued notices to Prerana to vacate the land as per the earlier apex court judgment. The land situated in the posh area of Tahachal in the capital is valued at Rs 1 billion at current market rates.

The former princess had filed the original case on February 8, 2015, arguing that Nepal  Trust took over the property illegally when it decided to nationalize it.


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