By: Mohnish Singh
A Pakistani court has dismissed a petition seeking ownership over legendary Bollywood actor Raj Kapoor’s Haveli in the historic walled city here in the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which has been declared a national heritage by the provincial government in 2016.
A two-member bench of the Peshawar High Court comprising Justices Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Abdul Shakoor on Thursday dismissed the ownership case of the petitioner.
The court dismissed the petition in light of an earlier judgment of the same court pertaining to the acquisition process of legendary actor Dilip Kumar’s haveli in Peshawar’s famous Qissa Khwani Bazaar, which had already been declared a national heritage by the federal government led by the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
The Additional Advocate General of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province told the court that the provincial archaeology department had declared the Kapoor Haveli a national heritage in 2016 through a notification.
On this point, Justice Shakoor asked the archaeology department whether they had any documents or proof that indicated that the Raj Kapoor family ever lived in the haveli.
Advocate Sabahauddin Khattak, the counsel for the petitioner, Saeed Muhammad, told the court that the father of the petitioner had purchased the mansion during an auction in 1969 after competitive bidding, paid its cost, and remained as absolute owner till the commencement of the acquisition process initiated by the provincial government.
He further claimed that there are no documents with any department of the provincial government to prove that the late Raj Kapoor and his family ever lived or owned this property. However, the bench told the counsel that the matter ought to be taken to a civil court.
The mansion is now in a very dilapidated condition and its current owners want to demolish the structure and construct a commercial plaza in view of its prime location. However, all such moves were stopped as the archaeology department wanted to preserve the mansion, keeping in view its historic importance.
Raj Kapoor’s ancestral home, known as Kapoor Haveli, is situated in Peshawar’s famous Qissa Khwani Bazaar. It was built between 1918 and 1922 by the legendary actor’s grandfather Dewan Basheswarnath Kapoor.
Raj Kapoor and his uncle Trilok Kapoor were born here. Rishi Kapoor and his brother Randhir had visited the site in the 1990s.