(A file picture of Wild Flower Hall)

In a major boost to the Himachal Pradesh government, the Supreme Court of India has upheld Himachal Pradesh High Court’s decision of handing over Oberoi’s luxury hotel at WildFlower Chharabra, near Shimla to the state government.

“The Supreme Court in its order passed on Tuesday did not allow the Special Leave Petition of the East India Hotels Ltd (EIL) seeking stay on the HP High Court orders and directed the hotel management  to hand over the property to the state government by March 2024.”

Himachal Pradesh High Court headed by Justice Satyen Vaidya in an order passed some time back had directed the EIL to hand over the possession of Wild Flower Hall to the state government within two months after which  the EIL had moved the Apex court.  

Wildflower Hall used to be the official residence of Lord Kitchener, the former Commander of the British Army in India before Independence and was handed over to the Himachal Pradesh government after the Independence. Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation was running a Hotel in the complex which was gutted in fire in 1993.

After the incident the state government had leased out the property to the Oberoi Hotels and a luxury hotel was being run there for nearly three decades by EIL.

The state government had moved the HP High Court after the hotel group failed to pay the revenue equity of nearly Rs 120 crore as agreed in the lease agreement for more than 25 years, to take possession of the property.

The High Court had given option to the state government to receive the pending amount and further lease out the property to the Hotel Group but the present Sukhvinder Singh government preferred to take back the possession of the Hotel after which the Court had directed EIL to hand over the property to the state government.

Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision. Expressing satisfaction over the apex court’s ruling, the CM said,” The Apex Court has safeguarded the interests of Himachal Pradesh after a long drawn legal battle”.

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