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AGARATALA | JAN 7, 2019:

Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarman today warned to move Supreme Court to get back the ownership of lone water palace of eastern India – Neermahal, after the high court of Tripura entrusted the ownership to the state government.

Pradyot, in a social media post stated- “Neer Mahal – I challenge the govt to provide one Legal document to suggest that my father ‘gifted’ Neer Mahal to them , also I am glad that finally the state government has admitted that no money was ever paid for Neer Mahal to my father or my family . I will challenge the matter in Supreme Court but I must ask one question to all if the erstwhile royal family cannot protect their private property then what hope does a poor person have . Crores have been spent on legal cases ,my father is no longer with me and my mother is 75 years old – Justice delayed is Justice denied, And I will not compromise“.

Earlier, a division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Akil Kureshi, Akil Abdulhamid Kureshi and Justice Arindam Lodh in a judgment rejected the claim of Tripura royal family and opined that they had no ownership rights on the 6 acre land including the surrounding lake and Neermahal palace is state’s property.

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In an appeal case, representing the state government Advocate General Arun Kanti Bhowmik speaking with the media persons expressed his satisfaction over the High Court’s order and claimed that the property solely belongs to Tripura government.

The Advocate General Arun Kanti Bhowmik said that the court observed in 1974, Neermahal was handed over to the state government by the then royal head and there was no doubt about the ownership of the property and added, “The Court clearly underscored that the present royal head Pradyot Kishore Debbarman and his mother Bibhu Kumari Devi have no rights to claim the ownership of this property.”

After death of King Kirit Bikram Manikya and 32 years of the event in 2008, the Queen (Maharani) Bibhu Kumari Devi filed a petition challenging the government and claimed that the land was never handed over to the state government, rather it was given possession for public uses.

Bhowmik said that the Maharani had filed a case at senior division of Civil Judge in Agartala demanding that the property was only given as order to use and thus government has to return the land and also the profit made from it.

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It was in the year 2015, when Bibhu Devi won the case from a senior division civil judge. After the verdict of the lower court, the then state government challenging the order of the lower in High Court of Tripura through an appeal.

After pro-long hearing on Monday, the division bench of High Court comprising Chief Justice Akil Abdul Hamid Kureshi and Justice Arindam Lodh had pronounced the verdict.

Advocate General expressing his satisfaction over the verdict of High Court said that ‘its welfare decision of the state’s people and now state government can develop the hot tourism spot’.

Neermahal (water palace) is a former royal palace built by Maharaja of Tripura Kingdom Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Debbarma under the supervision of Martin & Burns company who also build the iconic Victoria Memorial at Kolkata.

Neemahal was build at the erstwhile Kingdom of Tripura in the middle of the lake Twijilikma (Now known as Rudrasagar) in 1930 and was completed by 1938. It is situated in Melaghar, 53 kilometers away from Agartala. The palace is situated in the middle of Rudrasagar Lake and assimilates Hindu architectural style.

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