Mrunal Manmay Dash

In a major development in the Bagala Dharmashala land row in Puri, the Orissa High Court in an interim order on Thursday made it clear that the court's final judgement will be the deciding factor in the dispute.

Hearing the writ petition filed by BJP leader Sambit Patra, a division bench said that the validity of the construction over the Dharmashala land, transfer of ownership and conversion of land classification will depend on the final ruling of the Orissa High Court.

Speaking on the decision, counsel of the petitioner, Pitambar Acharya said, “A division bench of Chief Justice Dr Murlidhar and Justice BP Routray made it clear that all the State government decisions regarding the sale and mutation of Bagala Dharmashala land will be ruled as per the Court’s final decision.”

It is pertinent to mention here that two separate petitions were filed by Sambit Patra and social activist Jagannath Bastia in the High Court contending that the Bagala Dharmashala cannot be sold to anybody or the ownership cannot be transferred as it belongs to Lord Jagannath’s Amruta Manohi land.

Earlier, the decision of Puri district administration to sell the land of the century-old Bagala Dharamashala to six private hoteliers had triggered massive protests. The information obtained through an RTI application had revealed that the lodge owners and servitors who have been allotted plots in the Dharmasala land had earlier received huge amount of compensation in lieu of their land acquired for the Srimandir heritage corridor project.

The next hearing on the petition has been scheduled for December 16, 2021.