Declining a prayer to grant possession of land in Solan district to Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Yogpeeth, the Himachal high court on Wednesday directed the state government not to demolish the structure on the spot and to maintain status quo in respect of the leased land. The state government has been in possession of the land since February 22.
A division bench of the court comprising justice Deepak Gupta and justice Kuldeep Singh also issued a notice to the state government and the Solan deputy commissioner and directed them to file a reply in four weeks.
The petitioner (Patanjali Yogpeeth) has challenged the cabinet's February 19 decision on cancellation of the lease of land at Sadhupul, near Kandaghat, in Solan district. Following the decision, revenue officials had taken possession of the land, buildings and other infrastructure.
The yogpeeth has mentioned in its petition that the state government had entered into an agreement to lease the land for 99 years for the development of health tourism, growing of herbs and development of medical science. The petitioner mentioned that the lease deed was validly given to the trust, which had spent about Rs. 11 crore on development of the land.
The yogpeeth alleged that the government had taken possession of the land in an illegal manner, adding that not even a showcause notice had been issued (as per clause 10 of the terms and conditions of the lease deed). The petitioner further said that the government had violated the principles of natural justice.
The government maintained that the land was given to the yogpeeth by then BJP government in 2010 in violation of statutory provisions of the law, while thwarting plans of the Patanjali trust to inaugurate the first phase of the mega project on Wednesday.
The land originally belonged to the erstwhile royal family of Patiala. Former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, a scion of the royal family, had objected to then BJP government's decision, maintaining that the land was donated for a specific purpose and its use could not be changed. A civil litigation about ownership of the land is also pending in the court.
The case would now be taken up in the court on April 24.