The Prime Minister’s office has given clearance to the Ministry of External Affairs for transferring the ownership of Jinnah House in Mumbai’s Malabar Hill in its name.
BJP MLA, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, had on October 5, written to MEA head Sushma Swaraj requesting to convert Jinnah’s house into a cultural centre. In response to the letter, Sushma Swaraj confirmed that the PMO okayed the transfer of the property from ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) to the Ministry of External Affair and further said that her ministry will refurbish the bungalow on the lines of Hyderabad House in Delhi.
Lodha told PTI on December 19 that with this development, “the controversy (about the bungalow’s ownership and how it should be utilised) will get over now as it is going be developed on the patterns of Hyderabad House.”
Lodha, had earlier, claimed that the structure was a “symbol of partition”, and had, therefore, demanded that the structure is demolished.
Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, converted the 2.5-acre space as his residence in 1936.
Swaraj in her letter informed Lodha that after Independence, the British High Commission was using this Jinnah House till 1982.
It was later handed over to CPWD (Central Public Works Department) in 1982 and after sanction by the then PMO, the urban development department had ordered CPWD to hand it over to it, who instead passed it over to ICCR in 1988.
In 1996 the PMO decided to set up a cultural centre at Jinnah House. Accordingly, Jinnah House was transferred to ICCR in February 1997 since the ICCR decided to convert it into the SAARC sub-regional centre.
There were several controversies surrounding the Jinnah House, where on one hand Pakistan demanding that the property should be handed over to it for housing its Mumbai consulate, while on the other, Jinnah’s daughter Dina Wadia, approaching the Bombay High Court in August 2007, claiming that since she was the sole legal heir of Jinnah, she should get the possession of the house.
However, after her death, her son and Wadia Group chairman Nusli Neville Wadia is carrying on the litigation.
Now with the PMO’s nod to transfer the property to the MEA, the controversy surrounding the house would end, claimed BJP MLA, Mangal Prabhat Lodha.