Windsor Manor loses eviction case

Wakf Minister says hotel can continue functioning if it drops pork from its menu

Windsor Manor loses eviction case

Windsor Manor Sheraton Hotel

Holding that the Wakf Board’s action to evict Windsor Manor was in accordance with law, Justice Nagmohan Das said that the Board has the power to evict the lease holders under the KPP Act. He was hearing a petition by Windsor Manor, challenging the constitutional validity of the legislation as well as proceedings initiated by the competent authority (estate officer) under the Act.

But Minister for Haj, Wakf and Minority Welfare Mumtaz Ali Khan favoured fresh negotiations with the Sheraton Group for allowing it to continue operating from the same premises on Chowdiah Road near the golf course.

Pointing out that he would have to consult community leaders, the minister said the Sheraton Group could be allowed to continue after drawing a fresh lease agreement with new terms and conditions.

“My first condition is that no pork should be cooked on the premises. Secondly, we want a share in the net income. If that is not possible, they could pay rent depending on the market price,” he said.

Khan said if talks did not work out, the Board would call for fresh tenders since it wanted to use the building. “But I prefer the hotel continuing as it would benefit both the parties and the money we get in the form of deposit or rent can be used for minority welfare schemes,” he said.

Earlier, disposing of the matter, Justice Das observed: “The Board has power to evict the lease holders under KPP Act. Proceedings which are pending before the competent authority under KPP Act should be completed within a period of four months. Till then the petitioners shall continue to deposit a rent of Rs 6 lakh a month before the competent authority.”

Extension of lease

The land was leased to the Windsor Manor Sheraton Hotel for 30 years in the early seventies for a rent of Rs 5,000 a month. The controversy began when the local managing committee extended the lease for another 60 years without the consent of the board, which in 1981 cancelled the lease.

Various suits were filed by the Windsor Manor and the matter even reached the Supreme Court. With the apex court permitting the eviction, the matter came up before the competent authority, which initiated the proceeding for eviction.

The hotel then moved the High Court challenging constitutional validity of KPP Act. The single judge disposed of the matter stating that the Act is beneficial and constitutionally valid and upheld the eviction proceedings as valid in law. The court has also directed the competent authority to dispose of the eviction proceedings within four months.

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