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"HP govt wants to retain and resume possession of Hotel Wildflower Hall property," says Advocate General

20 Nov 2023

Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) [India], November 20 (ANI): The Advocate General of the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Monday said that the state government has made it clear that the government wants to take possession of its property of Hotel Wildflower hall and wants to resume it as already ordered by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh. He said that the Court had given the time to take up the view of the government by December 15 and it will be presented tomorrow as the case is listed for November 21.

While talking to ANI, AG, Anup Rattan said, "The case of the wildflowers hall property was listed in the High Court on Saturday on non judicial day. The advocates who represent the state were not present in the court and they were not informed and it was listed without any information and notice. We got a sudden call and our advocates were not available and we demanded to defer the case or to allow our council to be heard online.""The 2nd party alleged that the state government wants to illegally occupy the hotel and we informed the court that the state government has appointed the Director Tourism, Mansi Sahay as administrator as in its order the court in execution petition had said that the state government can resume the property following that the government had done the floral action of the resumption as the state government don't want to have any bad impact on the tourism and tourists," added Advocate General.

The government and the Chief Minister were very clear that the transfer of property as per court should be done in a manner that no tourism activity is suffered. It was also made clear that one or two persons should take possession, at one Para the court had ordered that the state government can resume the property but at the same time, the court has mentioned in another para that the government should inform the court if taking possession. In this interpretation of the order of the court, the government had taken those actions.

It is clear that the government wants to end the litigation and resume the property and to speed up and promote tourism activities wants to end the litigation as the litigation has been in court for the past 23 to 24 years. There was no intention to occupy the property illegally and we had withdrawn the administrators after the stay on the execution order of the court on Saturday." said Anup Rattan the advocate general of HP High Court.

He said that the state government has made its intention clear that the state government wants to take back its property.

"The intention of the government was to follow the court order and also to take the property in the larger interest of the state, people and tourism promotion. As the government has made it clear that they want to take back their property after this the hotel management feel that they are losing a big property which they have used in the name of litigation. Now they again want to put it and linger on in the court. We shall try matter is resolved as soon as possible, we shall inform the court that we want to take property back , government has no intention to illegally occupy it, we shall take up our view which we wanted to take up on 15th December it will be presented tomorrow as case is listed. We shall seek permission to get back our property," said the advocate general of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh," AG, Anup Rattan further added.

The Himachal Pradesh government had taken over possession of the Hotel Wildflower Hall on Saturday following orders of the High Court and which was later stayed by the High court on the same day. The India Hotel's WildFlowers Hall located at Chharbra in the periphery of Shimla city, till the execution order is given by the court. The High Court stayed further execution of the order issued by it on Friday following a petition and said "the respondent state shall not interfere in the day-to-day management and possession of the hotel".

In its stay orders issued on Saturday afternoon, the High Court referred to the court order passed on November 17, 2023 in which "objections in execution petition No 5 of 2023 and Execution Petition 19 of 2023 have been decided". Saturday's order said that while deciding the objections of parties vide order of November 17, 2023, "this court has specifically required the state to reveal its option" whether it intends to resume the property by taking possession in terms of the award or not. "The State has been granted time for such purpose till December 15, 2023, but the State officials are stated to have taken action by issuance of executive order dated November 17, 2023, and as a consequence thereof have initiated action by visiting the hotel premises in the morning of November 18, 2023, today," the order said.

The court has listed the matter for hearing on November 21. The High Court had in October last year, dismissed an appeal filed by EIH Ltd (East India Hotel Ltd) and others against the State of HP and others in a dispute pertaining to Hotel Wildflower Hall.

Wildflower Hall was owned by Lord Kitchener. Hotel Wildflower Hall was being run as a hotel by HP Tourism Development Corporation but a fire gutted it in 1993. The hotel was handed over to the EIH for being run by way of a joint venture but the government terminated the agreement in 2002. The two parties have been engaged in long litigation. (ANI)

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