Overruling Sec 118, HC allows homestay units to run by private owners


The Himachal Pradesh High Court today quashed a Tourism Department order to cancel the permission to run the homestay unit by the private owners belonged to outside of Himachal overruling the section 118. The Division Bench of acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Sandeep Sharma gave major relief to the four petitioners who had challenged the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department notice to cancel their permission to run home stay unit, in a verdict pronounced today.


The Court said that neither the Act, nor the Scheme prohibited use of the house as a “Home Stay’, by way of a clarification-an executive order-State could not have imposed such an embargo. We allow in the present petition to quash the impugned notice of July 29, 2015 passed by respondent and the with the aforesaid observations, present petition stands disposed of and if any case pending. The petitioners said that Government accorded permission under this home state scheme in 2011 however it was cancelled in 2015 forcing them to move the Court.


A petitioner contended that all was well till the time petitioner received a notice July 29, 2515, asking him to immediately stop the “commercial activity” for the reason that it was violative of Clause(dd) or clause (h) of sub-section (1) of Section 118 of the Act. The Court held that Homestay scheme allows the private owners to rent out their houses for the purpose of tourism in the rural areas and it was not considered commercial activities moreover state has exempted taxation on such units to promote tourism in the rural areas of the state to the decongestant crowd in the tourist resort and urban areas.


The Court ordered State Government and department never issued any such direction to not allow the non-commercial activities to outsiders who had permitted under 118 to purchase the property in the State. The Counsel for the State and Deputy Advocate General Mr Anup Rattan said that department order to cancel the permission was abiding the supreme court order which also cancelled the permission under similar conditions. The Department informed the court that since inception of home state scheme April 12, 2011 as many as
807 homestay units were working in the state and permitted by the government as 233 units are working in Kullu, 200 in Shimla, 111 in Kangra, 63 in Mandi, 61 in Soan, 50 in Lahaul Spiti, 46 in Chamba, 21 in Sirmaur, seven in Kinnaur and Six in Una district.


After having served the nation petitioner and Brigadier of Indian Army decided to settle down in the pristine atmosphere of lower Himalayas and set up a homestay unit named as ‘Guns and Roses’ on April 7, 2011 at tourist resort Kasuli.

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ML Verma is a Senior journalist, with more than a decade of experience of active reporting for electronic media, news agencies and fast paced online media.

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