The woman claimed to be the widow of great-grandson of last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar II. She allegedly accused Government of India for “illegally possessing” the Red Fort.
The Delhi High Court on Monday rejected a plea filed by a woman seeking possession of the historic Red Fort. The woman Sultana Begum claimed that she is the widow of late Mirza Mohammad Bedar Bakht, the great-grandson and legal heir of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar II.
The woman sought direction to the centre to hand over the Red Fort of Delhi to her or give adequate compensation.
Sultana Begum claimed that her husband fled from Rangoon, where the last Mughal Emperor was exiled by the East India Company to India. She also mentioned in her petition that her husband was recognised as the inheritor of Bahadur Shah Zafar II in 1960 by the Government of India, however, her husband died in 1980 after that she started receiving pension from the government.
“In 1960, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Union of India started giving pension to Bedar Bakht, husband of the petitioner. On August 15,1980 the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India started giving pensions to Sultana Begum, the current petitioner. The Government of India is giving so less as pension.”Petition of Sultana Begum
Justice Rekha Palli enquired the woman about the delay in claiming the Red Fort and approaching the court after over 150 years.
“My history is weak but you claim injustice was done to you by the British East India Company in 1857. Why is there a delay of over 150 years? What were you doing all these years? Everybody know about it. Everyone in the court must have read history that he was exiled. It was known to the world. Why has nothing filed in time? If her ancestors did not do it, can she do it now?”
According to the petitioner, the Government of India did not give any compensation or possession of the Red Fort which is an ancestral property in the possession of the Government of India. The petitioner said that the Government of India is having illegal possession of the Red Fort, which is a direct violation of the petitioner’s fundamental right and constitutional right in Article 300 A.
Article 300A states that no person shall be deprived of his property save by the authority of law. Therefore, the article protects an individual from interference by the State and dispossess a person of the property unless it is in accordance with the procedure established by law.
The woman sought for the intervention of the Court to ensure that the Red Fort, which was “illegally taken over by The British East India Company” be handed over to her on the grounds that she is the legal heir of the monument.
However, Justice Rekha Palli dismissed the petition and said that the plea filed by Sultana Begum is a gross misuse of time and rejected any relief to her.