Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Wednesday directed the state government to maintain status quo in respect of the land leased to Patanjali Yogapeeth of Ramdev and sought government's response on the matter.

A Division Bench consisting justices Deepak Gupta and Kuldeep Singh issued notice to the state government asking it to file reply on the petition of Patanjali.

The court fixed the next hearing for April 24. The court also restrained the government from demolishing the construction which has been raised on the land or changing the nature of the land.

The Himachal government had cancelled the lease of 28 acres of land given to Patanjali Yogapeeth and taken over the possession of the land on February 22. The trust filed a petition in the High Court on February 25, challenging the decision of the government and asked for restoration of the land.

The land near Sadhupul in Solan district was leased to the trust by the then BJP government in 2010 for setting up a branch of Patanjali and construction of an Ayurveda hospital-cum-yoga 'shivir' hall which was to be inaugurated by the Yoga teacher Ramdev.

The trust alleged that the decision of the state government was "illegal, arbitrary" and in violation of natural justice. The petitioner has claimed the trust had already incurred a loss of over Rs 11 crore on construction of buildings and development of infrastructure.

The land originally belonged to the erstwhile royal family of Patiala and was donated to the government in 1956. The government maintained that the land, valued around Rs 35-40 crore, was allotted to the yoga guru for a one-time lease payment of Rs 17 lakh for 99 years at a token annual fee of Re 1.


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