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Former royal family members knock the doors of House panel

Former royal family members knock the doors of House panel

Members of the former royal family have knocked the doors of the parliamentary committee, contending that their land and property have been unjustly frozen by the Land Revenue Office.

Dilasha, Shitashma, and Puja, the three daughters of the late Dhirendra Shah, the younger brother of former king Gyanendra Shah, filed a complaint with the State Affairs and Good Governance Committee of the House of Representatives on Dec 24.

The committee hasn’t initiated discussion on the complaint yet as some members of the committee contend that the issue doesn’t fall under the committee’s scope of work. The three have argued in the complaint that the state has unfairly discriminated against them by freezing their property, citing land holding ceiling. They are seeking the parliamentary committee's intervention to uphold their constitutional right to own property.

The Land Revenue Office, Kathmandu, has frozen the land and property owned by Dhirendra’s late wife, Preksha, stating that the landholding exceeds the ceiling set by the government. Fifteen years ago, the Land Revenue Office, Kathmandu, issued a directive to freeze 35 ropanis of land in Kathmandu Metropolitan City-3.

The Land Reforms Act, 1964 had set a land holding ceiling in Kathmandu for individuals at 58 ropanis. The amendment to the act made in 2001 reduced the ceiling to 30 ropanis. They have also contended that the 35 ropanis cannot be considered the landholding of a single family, as family members above the age of 16 must be treated as separate individuals according to the revised definition of 'family' in the 2006 amendment to the Land Reforms Act.

In their complaint, the three claimed that the property was divided and registered under their respective names on April 1, 2008, while the decision to freeze the property was made on May 10, 2008. They also claimed that the ownership of the land and property belonging to their mother Preksha was rightfully transferred to their names and they also own land ownership certificates issued by the Land Revenue Office, Dillibazaar.

Dhirendra Shah was killed in the Royal Palace Massacre on June 1, 2001, while his wife Preksha died in a helicopter accident in Mugu district five months later. They have said in the complaint that they submitted applications to the National Vigilance Center, Department of Land Reforms and Management, and Land Revenue Office, Kathmandu, four years ago for the release of the land, but to no avail.