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Bungalow of Arundhati's husband illegal: court

Dec 02, 2010 09:11 AM IST India India

Bhopal: There's more trouble for writer-activist Arundhati Roy. After a sedition case against her, she's now being accused of living in an illegally constructed house in Madhya Pradesh.

Arundhati Roy's dream house in Pachmarhi won't be hers now. The house built on a forest land can be inherited but not sold. The house is owned by Arundhati's husband Pradip Kishen in the Panchmarhi Tiger Reserve in Hoshangabad district. They had bought the land from a tribal 18 years back and when the state revenue department objected. They approached the High court which referred the matter back to the department.

A local court here has upheld Revenue Court's decision declaring 'illegal' a bungalow built by Pradip Kishen, filmmaker and husband of activist Arundhati Roy, in a village in Pachamarhi hill station.

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of the area has said the land cannot be transferred in the name of Arundhati Roy.

Sub-Divisional Magistrate V Kirangopal dismissed the appeal of Kishan and three others, who also have their houses in the same area, on Wednesday, Kishan's counsel Sushil Goyal said.

In their appeal, Kishan, Aradhana Seth, Jagdish Chand and N Yadav said they had built their dwellings lawfully in revenue area and not in forest area.

Kishan and others filed the appeal in the SDM Court on a direction from the Madhya Pradesh High Court in February. They had filed a writ petition in the HC seeking setting aside of the Revenue Court's order of 2003 quashing their ownership right on the land.

"The High Court had referred the matter to the revenue department," said Forest Minister Madhya Pradesh Sartaj Singh.

The land falls within the reserved forest area and according to the rules; those living in the reserved forest areas can inherit property from their parents but are not entitled to sell it to any outsider. Now with the SDM ruling against Arundhati, the state forest department is preparing to take action.

"We will take appropriate action once we get the exact details," said Sartaj Singh.

They can still appeal to the Revenue Commissioner and thereafter to the revenue board but for now the celebrity author and her filmmaker husband will have to live with the fact that their house is illegal.