Beaulieu Estate: Supreme Court says Karnataka has no right

The Supreme Court has announced that Karnataka has no right over the historic Beaulieu Estate in the Bengaluru city as it was purchased almost 117 years ago by the Dewan of Mysore on behalf of the First Princess.

The historical Beaulieu Estate, a heritage property located at Palace Road in Bengaluru measures over 24 acres and houses a hotel and a number of commercial buildings and residences.

The top court restored the order passed by the Karnataka High Court’s single judge supressing the state government’s order initiating proceedings under Section 67 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964 against the occupants of the land.

A bench of Justices comprising Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said that after over 100 years of the execution of the original conveyance deed, and after the state acquiring many portions of land out of this estate we cannot permit the state to urge that the original transference deed is fraudulent or that the subsequent transfers are all collusive and, as such, void

“It is believed that the Beaulieu estate was purchased by the Dewan of Mysore on behalf of the First Princess and the consideration was paid from the personal funds of the First Princess. Therefore, the state of Karnataka has no right over the property,” the bench added.

The top court said the allegations of fraud levelled by the state could not be believed, especially in view of the “contemporaneous evidence and subsequent acquisitions” out of the estate, both by the Maharaja of Mysore before Independence and by the state of Mysore after Independence.

The proceedings under Section 67 of the Act was initiated by the state government after a complaint by the secretary of the Karnataka Public Service Commission in May 2004 alleging that 20 acres and 9 gunthas of land, out of the total 24 acres and 12 gunthas, was fraudulently acquired and it would not confer any rights upon the owners.

The bench, in its judgement, held that Section 67 cannot be used to dispute the title of persons who have been holding the property for more than 100 years. “Prior to the conveyance deed being executed on August 25, 1990, the Dewan of Mysore had put up a note to His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore that the estate property is being bought for the First Princess and the payment was to be made out of her personal funds.

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