The Kathmandu Metropolitan City has not been allowed to demolish the Bagdurbar and build a new one in its place.
The historic palace was completely destroyed by the 2015 Gorkha earthquake and the KMC faced a legal challenge against its decision to rebuild the palace (completely new).
Earlier, a writ was filed at the Supreme Court (SC) against the decision and the SC, in response, gave its verdict on last Tuesday, revoking the decision. A division bench comprising judges Anil Kumar Sinha and Sapana Pradhan issued the order.
The order also announced the cancellation of a tender granted to demolish the palace building. “The KMC has the right to use the property, but not its ownership,” the SC stated in its order. The SC issued a mandamus to form a team of experts under the convenorship of Director General of Department of Archeology within the next 15 days of the order for the protection of Bagdurbar.
Earlier, the KMC decided to replace the building with a new one, citing that it was less than 100-year-old and was largely damaged by the earthquake. “Though the structure has not completed the 100 years of establishment, it is necessary to protect the artistic structure,” the order said.
Following criticism from a section of people mainly monuments protection campaigners, the KMC agreed to carry out the retrofitting of the palace, moving back from its initial decision of demolishing it.
Later the decision was changed with Bidhya Sundar Shakya’s election to the post of KMC mayor. The KMC presented a claim that the building was not the Bagdurbar, but was the Haribhawan to support its decision.
The KMC had planned to undertake the rebuild project at a cost of 1.5 billion. According to historian Dinesh Raj Pant, the original building of the Bagdurbar was build in around 1868 BS and the present three-storied structure spreading in 18 ropanis of land is not the original one. The original structure was spread in a larger area. “Hari Shamser built present building for personal use which is known as Haribhawan as well, but it makes no difference to call it Bagdurbar.”