The Madhya Pradesh high court on Thursday stayed an order declaring the property of the heir of the nawab of Bhopal and Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan and his family members as enemy property.
Justice Vandana Kasrekar, during preliminary hearing of the petition, stayed the execution of the order passed by the respondent - Custodian of Enemy Property for India - on February 25, 2015 against the petitioner - Saif Ali Khan - till further orders.
The HC served four weeks' returnable notices on the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, Mumbai, the Union government through home ministry and the state government through the principal secretary of revenue department.
The respondent declared the property of late Hamidulla Khan as enemy property on findings that his elder daughter Abida Sultan left India in 1950 and migrated to Pakistan. Abida Sultan left for Pakistan when Hamidulla Khan was alive.
After Khan’s death, his second daughter Mehr Taj Sajida Sultan Begum was declared as successor of his (nawab of Bhopal) property as per provisions of Succession of Throne Act of Bhopal 1947, the merger agreement and other documents, petitioner’s counsel Rajesh Pancholi told the court. Mehr Taj Sajida Sultan is the grandmother Saif Ali Khan.
"Abida Sultan went to Pakistan on her own volition and no property of the nawab of Bhopal was devolved upon her," the counsel argued.
The respondent authority did not afford reasonable opportunity of hearing to the actor though Khan replied to the notice issued on December 19, 2014, the petition said.
Facts of the case
• April 30, 1949: Merger agreement signed between the Union of India and nawab Hamidullah Khan of Bhopal wherein personal properties chosen by him (nawab) shall not be called into question.
• February 4, 1960: Nawab Hamidulla Khan dies.
• January 12, 1961: The gazette notification was published recognising Mehr Taj Sajida Sultan Begum as 'sole successor' of the properties of Hamidulla Khan.
• December 19, 2014: Notice under section 11 of the Enemy Property Act 1968 was issued by the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, Mumbai Maharashtra to petitioner Saif Ali Khan.