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PHC asks if govt still interested in acquiring ‘Dilip Kumar’s house’

PHC asks if govt still interested in acquiring ‘Dilip Kumar’s house’

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Tuesday summoned the secretary of the provincial culture and archeology department for today (Wednesday) to clarify the government’s position on the declaration of acting legend Dilip Kumar’s purported ancestral house as national heritage.

A bench comprising Justice Nisar Hussain and Justice Roohul Amin Khan directed the secretary to appear before it and explain if the government was still interested in acquiring the said house for turning it into a monument.

It issued the order on a petition of Haji Lal Mohammad Khan, owner of the said house located in Mohallah Khudadad here, seeking orders for the government to de-notify the imposition of Section 4 of Land Acquisition Act, which was invoked by the previous provincial government for purchasing the said house.

The petitioner’s counsel, Shahnawaz Khan, challenged the historical significance of the said residence saying several misinformation had been attached to the property in question.

He said while there was one claim that Dilip Kumar had spent his childhood days in the house, it was contrary to facts on record as he was born in 1922 and his father had purchased the said property in 1943.

The lawyer said the house in question could not be called Dilip Kumar’s ancestral property as his father had sold it out within three days of purchase.

Shahnawaz Khan said the then director culture had moved a summary suggesting that the proposed acquiring of the house be abandoned.

The director had cited several reasons for abandoning the plan saying keeping in view the existing condition of the five-marla building it could be hardly used for purpose of showcasing belongings of the legendary actor. He had added that big budget would be required for the preservation of the building.

He said on July 25, 2014, the director archeology had notified the said residence as protected antiquity without fulfilling the requirements under the KP Antiquity Act 1997.

The petitioner has claimed that he had purchased the house from Mohammad Badshah and his wife Saeeda Khatoon for Rs515,000 on Jan 5, 2008.

The petitioner states: “The house was initially in the ownership of Ghulam Mohiyuddin alias Gul Jee who transferred it (Deed No 123) on January 26, 1943 for Rs2,000 to Ghulam Sarwar, who is the father of Yousaf Khan, also known as Dilip Kumar, the Indian film star.”

He claimed that Ghulam Sarwar then transferred the property to Mohammad Yaqoob Qureshi on Jan 29, 1943 through an unregistered deed for Rs2,000. The house came into the ownership of Mohammad Badshah from his father Yaqoob Qureshi.

The petitioner said on Jan 29, 1995, Badshah transferred two marlas to his daughter and the remaining three marlas to his wife Saeeda Khatoon on April 4, 2005. The house was then sold to the petitioner.

The then provincial government in 2012, on the 89th birthday of Dilip Kumar, issued a notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 regarding the house.

It initially agreed to pay Rs30 million to the petitioner for the house but after meetings with the attorney of the petitioner, the government then made an offer of Rs11.224 million which was then raised to Rs14.246 million.

The petitioner claimed that he refused the offer as the market value of the said house was more than what the government offered.

The petitioner said while the acquisition process fell flat, the government neglected to officially terminate the acquisition process for the house.

He requested the court to direct the government to cancel the acquisition, recall the notification under Section 4 of the Land Acquisition Act 1894 and release the property to the petitioner for his use, sale, transfer, reconstruction and development.

Published in Dawn, October 7th, 2015

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