The Bihar government’s intention to demolish the famous 100-year-old landmark in the center of the city to construct a five-star hotel has been questioned by the Patna High Court, which has also ordered a delay in the scheduled destruction.
According to the petitioner’s attorneys, the court ordered the stay on the Palace’s demolition at a Friday online session on a recent PIL. The Palace was constructed in 1922 by barrister Sir Sultan Ahmed.
The decision has given historical enthusiasts and a sizable segment of the populace calling for the government to reverse the decision and instead repair and repurpose the palace much-needed relief.
According to a member of the legal team that represented him during the court, the young Patna-based lawyer who filed the public interest lawsuit (PIL) filed it, and this was the case’s first hearing.
“Amarjeet v. Union of India is the name of the PIL that was recently submitted to the Patna High Court challenging the Bihar government’s plan to tear down the historic “Sultan Palace” edifice in Patna, also known as Parivahan Bhawan.
The member added that the scheduled destruction of the Sultan Palace was suspended by a division bench consisting of Chief Justice of the High Court Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice S. Kumar.
The Bihar government has been asked by the court to explain why it intends to demolish a 100-year-old heritage building, asking it to furnish a response in “eight weeks.”
Amarjeet, a 28-year-old petitioner and attorney, said that one of the judges on the bench also highlighted Rajasthan as an example, where historic heritage structures have been renovated, repurposed, and utilized as hotels or for other reasons and honored.
The state cabinet has approved the construction of three five-star hotels in Patna, including one on Beer Chand Patel Road, where the Palace is located, according to a mid-June announcement by the Nitish Kumar administration.
The government had then declared that the massive building would be demolished to make room for a hotel designed to resemble a contemporary high-rise.
Heritage enthusiasts flocked to social media shortly after the decision was announced to condemn it, with many calling it “extremely terrible” and some even calling it a “hare-brained judgment.” even some of them cited the state government’s older decision, taken a few years ago, to convert the Palace into a “heritage hotel” and asked why it discarded the widely-reported old plan.
Since then, historians, environmentalists, and regular inhabitants of the nation have passionately disagreed with the choice and pleaded with the government to save and repair the “architectural icon” rather than demolish a genuine “pride of Patna and the country.” Ironically, “Patna: A Monumental History,” a 2008 publication by the Bihar government, mentions the Sultan Palace.
“The Sultan Palace is a stunning example of Islamic architecture. The high-domed tower in the middle and the domed pavilions at the extremities of the roof give it a stately appearance.
The chapter on the opulent structure, which is part of a complex that covers more than four acres, says, “This is further emphasized by slender minarets rising at angles and the succession of multi-foliated arches in the front.”
The palace was constructed in 1922 by renowned Patna lawyer Sir Sultan Ahmed. He served briefly as a judge in the Patna High Court and as the first Indian vice-chancellor of the Patna University from 1923 to 1930. It is situated on the historic Gardiner Road (now Beer Chand Patel Road) close to the R-Block neighborhood.
Mahatma Gandhi later joined the Viceroy’s Executive Council for law, information, and broadcasting. He was also a member of the Indian delegation to the famous Round Table Conferences held in London in the 1930s.
Early in August, locals protested online using the hashtag #SaveSultanPalace to draw attention to the ancient site’s fragility.