Taking up the petition of six owners of Amritsar hotels and guest houses challenging the municipal town planner sealing order for buildings raised against bylaws, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday issued notices of motion to the Punjab government and the Amritsar municipal corporation.
The case that came up in the court of justice Rajan Gupta now has been posted for next hearing on August 22. The petitioners have sought directions to the municipal authorities not to pursue the sealing order. They have requested the court to set aside the municipal town planner order of August 14 that gave them 24 hours to stop using the buildings as hotels.
Appearing for the petitioners, advocate Dilpreet Singh Gandhi argued that on the one hand, the municipal town planner had passed this order, and on the other hand, the state government had passed a resolution to make all hotels legal in larger public interest. Gandhi submitted that petitioners were out of the families who had seen the fallout of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
With time, tourism is the only industry left in Amritsar, the counsel has argued, adding that hunger and lack of business opportunities in the city had forced people to convert homes into guest houses, just like it was in Katra (Jammu and Kashmir), Haridwar (Uttarakhand), and other religious places.
He submitted that the 130-odd guest houses near the Golden Temple gave livelihood to nearly 7,000 people and sealing the hotels would affect them severely. He argues that there was no logic in sealing the hotels unless the special investigating team (SIT) constituted for finding out the illegalities had come out with its report.