The Madhya Pradesh High Court has issued a notice to the Centre and others on a petition filed by yesteryear actress Sharmila Tagore challenging the government’s decision to take control of properties of the last Nawab of Bhopal.
In the order passed on Wednesday, Justice Alok Aradhe also extended the stay to the February 25 order of Custodian of Enemy Property for India (CEPI), Mumbai, which has declared that the property, inherited by the family of former cricketer and Tagore’s late husband Mansoor Ali Khan, as `enemy property’.
Replies are to be filed in four weeks.
The petition has been filed by Tagore and her daughters Soha Ali Khan and Sabah Ali Khan. Earlier, her son and actor Saif Ali Khan had moved the HC on the same issue.
Tagore’s lawyer Rajesh Pancholi told the court that the union government had entered into an agreement to merge the princely state of Bhopal with Nawab Hamidullah Khan Bahadur at the time of Independence and CEPI order violated the agreement.
On April 23, Justice Vandana Kasrekar had stayed the February 25 order.
The Enemy of Property Act 1968 was promulgated after the 1965 Indo-Pak war. The Act relates to properties left behind by those who migrated to Pakistan. Labelling these as "enemy" properties, the Act allows the government to have control over them through CEPI.
CEPI declared the property of Hamidulla Khan (ancestor of Pataudis) as enemy property after finding that his elder daughter, Abida Sultan, migrated to Pakistan in 1950 when Hamidulla was alive.
However, the Pataudi family argues that after Hamidulla’s death, his second daughter Mehr Taj Sajida Sultan Begum was declared the successor of property as per provisions of Succession of Throne Act of Bhopal, 1947.
Sajida Sultan was the grandmother of Saif, Soha and Sabah. Abida Sultan went to Pakistan on her own and no property of Nawab of Bhopal was devolved upon her, they contend.