40-year-old chapter of academic excellence being run by Dalhousie
Public School (DPS) may be slammed shut, with a one-man commission
of the Himachal Pradesh government recommending vesting of the
entire school land located in picturesque Dalhousie, about 350 km
The commission, headed by Justice D.P. Sood, former judge of the
Himachal Pradesh High Court, has made recommendations after
finding glaring violations by the school authorities in property
transactions and original lease deed. Vesting of the school would
mean acquiring the entire premises.
The judicial commission, set up on the recommendation of the state
assembly, probed illegal land transactions carried out across the
state from 2003 to March 2011.
DPS, established in 1970, attracts NRIs and prominent people from
the region. It also has students from foreign countries, including
the US, Canada, Britain and several other European nations.
The commission, probing lease deeds relating to the school land,
says the school got the land from the government on a lease of 99
years in 1937, with a condition of its renewal after 30 years.
It points out that "there does not seem to be any renewal lease
deed after the expiry of the first term lease deed for 30 years,
which expired Sep 18, 1966. Even rent as agreed upon does not seem
to have been enhanced and deposited with the local civic body".
"It was found that terms and conditions of the lease deed have
been blatantly violated by the occupiers by raising (an)
additional building in the leased premises and thereafter sold the
property to various persons, including non-agriculturalists,
without seeking permission," says the report.
"Accordingly, the occupation of the heirs of the late Harbans Kaur,
the original lessor, can't be termed as that of the lessees. As
per the documents, the (land) occupation appears to be illegal,"
observes Sood in his 147-page report submitted to the government
The commission also picks hole in the purchase of 27 hectares land
by school authorities Jan 28, 2010.
The report says DPS constituted an educational society, headed by
Charanjit Kaur, and purchased land on the basis of the society
being an agriculturalist. The school in its reply to the
commission says it's competent to purchase the properties on the
basis of an agriculturalist certificate given by the competent
government authority Jan 23, 2010.
Sood observes that "the certificate of agriculturalist so issued
was in itself an illegality as mere entry in the name of the head
of the institution, who is in possession of the property so
purchased, does not make the owner in possession an
The report says in view of the original 'patta' of 1937, the
school building so built could not have been erected nor the
original building could be sold in view of the terms of the
original lease deed. Thus the occupation/sale of the entire
premises is illegal and in violation of Section 118 of the
Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reforms Act of 1972.
Principal G.S. Dhillon however sought to dispel apprehensions
about initiation of action against the school.
"There seems to be some communication gap (between the school
authorities and the commission). All property transactions were
carried out by the school society and not by any functionary in
his/her capacity," Dhillon told IANS.
He said the new construction was done after demolition of a
portion of the old built-up structures with permission of the
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at email@example.com)