Café Samovar’s eviction has been temporarily suspended as the Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the trustees of the Jehangir Art Gallery, which has asked the 45-year old restaurant to move out of its premises.
The SC has asked the art gallery and the Chhatrapati Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (Prince of Wales Museum) to explain how they have called themselves a ‘state’ to invoke eviction proceedings under the Bombay Government Premises (Eviction) Act, 1955.
A two-judge bench of the apex court issued notice of an interim stay of dispossession, providing a sliver of hope to the café’s proprietor Usha Khanna.
Khanna had contested the eviction order issued by the state government in July 2008 in the city civil court and then the Bombay High Court in November 2009. Both the courts upheld the eviction order and dismissed Khanna’s pleas.
“We had challenged this very notification since the beginning in all the courts but no one picked it up. We can only hope now that the judges recognise our efforts to preserve an important city institution,” said Devieka Bhojwani, Khanna’s daughter. The date for the next hearing is yet to be finalised.