ITC loses Windsor Manor case to Wakf board

The Karnataka high court on Wednesday directed competent authorities under the Public Premises Act to continue the eviction proceedings initiated by the state Wakf Board against Windsor Sheraton Manor hotel located on their property, and complete the eviction in three months' time.

A division bench of justice Nag Mohan Das also ordered the hotel to pay Rs6 lakh per month till the eviction process is completed in terms of the 10 February 2005 interim order passed by the high court.

The court thus put an end to a three-decade-old dispute regarding the three acres or so of prime land presently housing the Windsor Sheraton on Sankey Road.

The ITC Hotels Ltd-owned Windsor Sheraton had challenged in the high court the 12 August 2002 order of the competent officer under the Karnataka Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1974, and the chief executive officer of the Karnataka State Board for Wakfs, initiating eviction proceedings.

The hotel argued that it had lawful possession of the property since 13 September 1974, and the officer did not have the jurisdiction to pass the eviction order.

Disposing of the petition, justice Das held that section 2(e)(v) of the Karnataka Public Premises Act is constitutionally valid and the New Wakf Act 1995 contains provisions similar to those in the old act 1954.