A seven-decade-old legal battle for a parcel of ten acres land worth more than Rs 200 crores in Vadva area of Bhavnagar city has entered the next phase as some builders have filed an appeal before a two- judge bench of the Gujarat High Court.
The legal heirs of the erstwhile royal family of Bhavnagar have staked claim on the land of which rights were transferred to the few builders in 2011.
Last month justice BM Trivedi had ruled that the land belongs to the Bhavnagar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and it should take possession of the land. While giving judgment in favor of the civic body, the HC had observed that it was acquired for the town planning scheme before independence way back in 1937.
However, three builders have challenged the order before the two-judge bench which ordered status quo on the land. Either parties have been ordered to restrain from creating any third party rights. The court has issued notices to the parties connected with the matter while posting the matter on July 6.
“Till the next date of hearing, parties to maintain status-quo as on today with regard to possession, revenue entries and title of the property in question. Even the appellants are restrained from creating any third party rights over the property in question by way of sale, mortgage, lease or in any other manner,” stated the order issued by the bench consisting of justices AJ Desai and UA Trivedi.
The case was filed by the BMC challenging an order passed by the Gujarat Revenue Tribunal (GRT) in 2011 giving ownership of the land to heirs of the Maharaja Virbhadrasinh Gohil. The land was actually acquired by the State of Bhavnagar in 1937 for a town planning scheme from one Bhura Ranchhod.
The land was not listed in the properties owned by the royal family after its merger with Union of India. Later it was included in the list of properties owned by the royal family.
Thereafter the various legal proceedings initiated in the different legal forum and landed in the Gujarat high court in 2011 as the land’s ownership was given to the heirs of the royal family. They sold the land to the third-party the next day of the order issued by the GRT. The order was challenged by the BMC to the Gujarat High Court on the ground that the land was not included in the inventory of properties by mistake and it belonged to the royal family only. On the other side, the BMC had submitted that the land belonged to the state and was acquired for the town planning scheme.