The owners of marriage palaces, which were sealed after the Punjab and Haryana high court recently directed the Municipal Corporation Amritsar (MCA) to do the same, were stopped from moving towards the residence of revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia on Friday.
The owners, who were led by All Punjab Palace Association president Ranjit Singh Bath and general secretary Nishan Singh Sandhu, were proceeding towards the cabinet minister’s residence to stage the protest. The police stopped them at the Novelty Chowk.
The owners blocked the chowk for an hour, causing inconvenience to commuters, and raised slogans against the state government.
Around two weeks back, the Punjab and Haryana high court had ordered the MC to close these banquet halls by July 31 and appear before the HC with an action report.
Following the HC orders, the MC has sealed 71 marriage palaces in the area.
“We want that these sealed palaces should be opened with immediate effect. The big palaces should be regularised and change of land use tax should be imposed on the collector rate 5%,” said Bath, who added that interest and penalty fine should not be imposed on the demand notices that have been given to the palaces.
They also said the government should ease out the norms for getting NOCs from various departments in regard to regularise the marriage palaces.
The sealing notice states that the palaces were neither opened without the government’s permission nor fulfilling its criteria. The court has asked the deputy commissioner, municipal commissioner, and the principal secretary of the local bodies ministry to appear before it after sealing the palaces or go to jail.
In 2010, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Punjab and Haryana high court, alleging that marriage palaces have been established illegally in the city.
In 2012, the court issued notice to the civic body to take action against the violators. The owners, however, didn’t respond to the MC notices, which asked them to do the needful to get the properties regularised.
In 2013, the complainant filed contempt case against the administration. The MC issued notices again to the owners in 2014, but only 15 of 86 palaces did the needful to abide by the norms, sources said.