Shimla September 30, 2021
The High Court of H.P. today issued notice to the Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary(Revenue), in a petition seeking abolition of lease system in Himachal Pradesh.
A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua passed these orders on a petition taken up suo moto by the Court as Public Interest Litigation on a letter written to Chief Justice by one Shri Rakesh Kumar of District Kangra. The petitioner has alleged that the Government of Himachal Pradesh has been leasing out its land for a period of 99 years, in many cases and this practice adopted by the State of H.P., is wrong and illegal, since grant of such lease would perpetually mean granting of ownership rights to the lessee for all intents and purposes. He has alleged that it is also illegal that the legal heirs of the beneficiaries inherit the lease rights of the original lessee. If such system is continues, the entire land of State of H.P., would be taken over by outsiders and the resources belonging to State, would be captured and enjoyed by those who are not entitled to it, which would eventually lead to subjugation of the residents of the State.
He has also alleged that many people have turned such leases into a source of income as for instance one hospital at Palampur has been granted perpetual lease of Rs.1/- per year, while the extent of land with it is around 60 kanals. He has stated that it needs to be ascertained that from such leases, how much income the government is earning, how much income is being generated by the beneficiaries, how much taxes are being paid by beneficiaries and how much of leased land has been denuded of forest cover, by the lessees . Further, it also needs to be ascertained that whether there is any instance that the land has been reverted back to the Himachal Pradesh Government after completion of 99 years.
The petitioner has prayed that practice and system of granting such perpetual lease of government land be discontinued and abolished immediately forthwith, so as to preserve the pristine glory of "Land of Gods", i.e. Himachal Pradesh.
The court posted the matter after two weeks and also directed the respondents to file their replies by the next date.