Saturday, April 11, 2015

Demolition of Ram Palace in Fazilka : HC directs for maintenance of status quo

Virender Kataria, former Member of Rajya Sabha and former Governor of Pondicherry, challenges demolition

Chandigarh,April 9, 2015 : Punjab and Haryana High court has directed the Local Govt Authorities for maintenance of status quo regarding the demolition of community hall (Ram Palance) in Fazilka. In a PIL filed by Virender Kataria, former Member of Rajya Sabha and former Governor of Pondicherry, seeking the issuance of appropriate directions to the Local Government Department and Municipal Council, Fazilka, against demolition of existing community hall (Ram Palace) situated opposite District Administrative Complex at Fazilka, a Division Bench of HC comprising justice S.K. Mittal and H.S. Sidhu today issued notice of motion to the respondents for 14.5.2015 in the PIL and also directed the respondents to maintain status quo regarding the position of demolition of the said community hall till the next date of hearing. In the aforesaid PIL, the petitioner has stated that the aforesaid community hall at Fazilka was constructed in the year 1997 by utilizing the grant of Rs. 60 lakhs released by him from his MP LAD fund AS A Member of Rajya Sabha. Presently, the market value of community hall is approximately Rs. 5 crore . The community hall serves the needs of poor and common people for solemnization of various religious and social functions, including marriages and also for conducting seminars, workshops, blood donation camps, etc. at very affordable rates, as compared to marriage palaces in the city. The grievance of the petitioner ,as expressed through his Counsel before the Division Bench of HC was that the Municipal Council, Fazilka passed a resolution on 12.9.2014 for shifting the Bus Stand, which was located in the crowded area in the city, to outside city on Fazilka-Abohar Road by demolishing community hall located at the said site. The Counsel argued that there is a school namely Guru Nanak Sikh Pathshala in the vicinity of community hall under reference, and the said school has encroached upon approximately one acre municipal land. He also brought to the notice of HC that a Committee of officials headed by Special Secretary to Chief Minister and which also included the Principal Secretary, Local Government, Punjab had visited Fazilka on 27.3.2015, and after discussions with the President of the Municipal Council and other staff submitted its recommendations on 1.4.2015 to the effect that the new Bus Stand may be constructed without demolishing the functional community hall and that the Municipal Council, Fazilka should get the encroached land from Guru Nanak Sikh Pathshala recovered. However, the Municipal Council, Fazilka in a hot haste manner initiated the process of demolishing of the community hall building on 3.4.2015, which was apparent from photograph attached with the PIL. The Counsel apprehended that further process of demolition of community hall may take place during the coming vacation. Hes, therefore, he prayed for staying the process of demolition of community hall. The Counsel further submitted that the poor and common persons can get the community hall booked for marriages at affordable rent of Rs. 5,000/- approximately, whereas solemnization of such marriage in a marriage palace costs around Rs. 50,000/-. Thus, the poor and common people will suffer irreparable loss in case this community hall is demolished.

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