The Himachal high court on Wednesday directed the government to maintain status quo in respect of the land leased to Patanjali Yoga Peeth of Baba Ramdev which was taken over by the government on February 22.
A division bench of the court comprising justices Deepak Gupta and Kuldeep Singh also issued notice to the government. The court asked the state government to maintain ‘status
Quo’ in respect of the land lease.
The Cabinet had cancelled the lease of 98 acre of land at Sadhupul near Kandaghat in Solan district on February 19 following which revenue officials had taken possession of the land along with buildings and other infrastructure.
Patanjali Yogapeeth filed a writ petition challenging the decision of the Cabinet to cancel the lease and also the follow up action to take over the possession of the land by the government.
The government had maintained that the land was given to Patanjali Yogapeeth by the then BJP government in 2010 in violation of statutory provisions of law and also thwarted the plans of the Patanjali Peth Trust to inaugurate the first phase of the mega project on Wednesday.
Challenging the action of the government, the Patanjali Yogapeeth moved the high court, alleging that the decision of the government was illegal, arbitrary and violation of cannons of natural justice.
The petitioner submitted the land was given to Patanjali Yogapeeth through a valid lease and it had already incurred an expenditure of Rs 11-crore on construction of buildings and development of other infrastructure.
The land originally belonged to the erstwhile royal family of Patiala in 1956 and former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, a scion of the Royal family had also objected to the decision of the government, maintaining that the land was donated for a specific purpose and its land use cannot be changed.
The BJP gave the land to the yoga guru in 2010 for a one-time lease payment of Rs 17 lakh for 99 years at a token annual fee of Re 1.