Jinnah House belongs to Govt, HC told

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), in an affidavit filed recently before the High Court, claimed that the government had acquired the Jinnah House in Mumbai as evacuee property and hence all rights of evacuee and others stood extinguished.

The affidavit was filed in response to a petition by Dina Wadia, daughter of Jinnah, laid claim to Jinnah House which stands on a 2.5 acre plot in posh Malabar Hill area of South Mumbai.

Ninety one-year-old Dina, who lives in New York, has contended that she was the sole heir to her father's property.

However, in another twist to the fight over the property, Mohammed Rajabally Ebrahim, grand-nephew of Jinnah, has claimed one-sixth share in the estate.The pleas of Dina and Abrahim were admitted in August this year.Ebrahim has staked his claim on the basis of Jinnah's will dated May 30, 1939, in which he had bequeathed his house to sister Fatima.
Dina, on the other hand, has denied that Jinnah had left behind such a will.

The case will come up for final hearing next week.Ebrahim contended that in accordance with Muslim law, after the death of Fatima, the house went to her sister Shirinbai and on her death the property vested in the children of her predeceased sister Mariam.
Mariam's daughter Ashraf Rajabally Ebrahim, who had a stake in the house, is mother of the petitioner, Mohammed Rajabally Ebrahim.

The MEA stated in the 15-page affidavit that once the property is acquired under section 12 of the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act of 1954, the rights of evacuee over the property are extinguished and evacuee is, if anything, only entitled to compensation.

"The property vests absolutely with the Central Government and there is no residuary right or reversion in favour of either evacuees or their heirs," the affidavit said.
Jinnah House was sold by Ministry of Rehabilitation to Ministry of Works and Housing for Rs 8.7 lakh and proceeds form part of the compensation.

Fatima was an evacuee as she left India for Pakistan after Partition. In June 1949, the Government of India notified Jinnah House as evacuee property.By a notification dated June 10, 1955, under the Displaced Persons (Compensation and Rehabilitation) Act 1954, the property came to be vested with the Union of India, the affidavit further said

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