AGARTALA, June 9 � In a significant judgment, a local court has asked the Tripura government to hand over the Neer Mahal, the lone lake palace in Eastern India, and Rudra Sagar to Maharani Bibhu Kumari Devi, successor of the royal family within the next two months.
The court also asked the government to pay a compensation of Rs 25 lakh annually with 6 percent interest since 1974 to the royal family.
In 2008, Maharnai Bibhu Kumar Devi had sent a legal notice to the State government requesting it to hand over the Neer Mahal, spread over 6.01 acres of land and the Rudra Sagar, spread over 26.61 acres of land, as the government has failed to utilize them as per the will of the late Maharaja Kirit Bikram Kishore Manikya.
However, the State government did not pay heed to the request of Bibhu Devi. Finding no other alternative, she filed a case before Judicial Magistrate, West Tripura district on April 25, 2008 seeking the court�s intervention to get her property- Neer Mahal and Rudra Sagar back.
In the petition, Bibhu Devi mentioned Neer Mahal and Rudra Sagar as parts of Maharaj Kirit Bikram Kishore Manikya�s personnel properties. The properties were given to the State government to maintain and promote it as tourism spots.
In the plea, Bibhu Devi also claimed the ownership over Neer Mahal and Rudra Sagar as those were given to her before the death of Kirit Bikram Kishore Manikya by signing a will.
�Since the State government has failed to fulfil the will of late Maharaja � proper maintenance and promoting them as tourism spots � it must be returned,� she said in the petition.
In course of the trial, advocate Deb Ranjan Chowdhury, who moved the case for of the petitioner, claimed that Neer Mahal and Rudra Sagar were personnel properties of Maharani Bibhu Kumari Devi through a will signed by the late Maharaja Kirit Bikram.
He also pointed out that the government is collecting money by leasing Rudra Sagar for pisciculture, which was against the will of the late Maharaja. �Thus the properties must be given to the original owner as the government could not fulfil the conditions laid down by the former Maharaja,� he argued.
Debabrata Chakraborty and Mrinal Kanti Biswas, who moved the case in favour of the State, had been claiming that Neer Mahal and Rudra Sagar are not personnel properties of Maharani Bibhu Kumar Devi as claimed by her. They also tried to establish that the government has been doing its level best to ensure proper maintenance of Neer Mahal and Rudra Sagar.
But, after a long trial, Judicial Magistrate, Senior Division, Court No. 1 Govinda Das today found both Rudra Sagar and Neer Mahal as personnel properties of Maharani Bibhu Devi.
In its verdict, the court asked the government to hand over Neer Mahal and Rudra Sagar to Maharani Bibhu Kumari Devi within the next two months as these are her personnel properties.
The court also asked the government to pay a compensation of Rs 25 lakh annually with 6 percent interest since 1974. The verdict was passed on Monday.