The Bombay High Court has directed the state government to hand over two South Mumbai flats taken over by the British in 1942 under a then prevalent law, to a now 93-year-old woman after she fought eight decades for the properties.
Flats are situated in South Mumbai
The flats of 500 sq ft and 600 sq ft each are situated in a Ruby Mansion in South Mumbai. On March 28, 1942 the properties were requisitioned under the Defence of India Act. The law allowed the British government to take possession of the private properties. Legal heirs of a former government official were in possession of it.
In the order of May 4, a division bench of Justices RD Dhanuka and MM Sathaye noted that despite de-requisition orders of 1946, the properties were never handed over to the owner Alice D’Souza.
D'souza sought state govt to implement de-requisition orders
D’souza had made a petition before the HC and sought that the state government and the collector implement the de-requisition orders and give her possession of her properties. She stated in her petition that possession of other properties in the building were handed over to their owners, but she had not got the possession.
The legal heirs of a then British official DS Laud had opposed D’Souza’s petition. Laud was an officer in the civil services department at the time.
The court order noted that the property’s physical possession was never handed over to D’souza and hence the de-requisition was not complete.
It directed the state government to hand over peaceful possession of the properties to owner D’Souza after taking its possession from the present occupants within eight weeks.
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