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eih: HC grants EIH time to reply in Wildflower Hall dispute

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The Himachal Pradesh High Court granted EIH Ltd, the flagship company of the Oberoi Group, time to file its rejoinder to the reply filed by the state government in a dispute over the historic Wildflower Hall luxury hotel in Shimla.

On Friday, Justice Satyen Vaidya, while allowing the hotel chain time to file its response, adjourned the case to December 29.

The state government and the Oberoi Group have been locked in a battle for more than two decades over the property.

A high court order on November 17 had allowed the state to take immediate possession of the hotel, but as the tourism department moved to seize the property, the court issued a stay order. This after the listed hospitality firm, EIH, filed a petition seeking to review the November 17 order.

Senior counsel RL Sood along with Arjun Lal are appearing for EIH in the case, while senior advocate Dhruv Mehta and counsels Prabhat Kumar and Vivek Negi are representing the state government.

Vijay Arora, a Shimla-based independent lawyer who is advising multiple hospitality ventures in the region, said in light of the matter’s connection to the hospitality sector and the presence of analogous clauses with private entities within various state hotel chains, the legal and hospitality sectors in the state are keenly monitoring the developments in this case.In 1995, the Oberoi Group converted the property spread over 77,000 square meters into a five-star hotel after signing an agreement with the Himachal Pradesh state government through a joint venture called Mashobra Resort Ltd (MRL).Under the arrangement, the state government received shares that translated into an unspecified stake in the venture. As per its annual 2022-2023 report, EIH held a 78.79% stake in MRL.

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