The owner of a hotel in Bihar moved the Patna High Court on Tuesday contending that his hotel, situated in the state's biggest hotspot, has been taken over by the government for a quarantine center and he feared damage to or loss of furniture and other items until authorities concerned were made accountable.
The petitioner, Bharat Yadav, owns the White House hotel, situated in the state's Munger district - the only district in the state where the total number of cases is more than 100.
Mr Yadav's counsel Ansul argued before the single judge bench of Justice Rajeev Ranjan Prasad that he was not challenging the taking over of the hotel premises, but he has concerns about the furniture and other equipment and accessories which may be lost or damaged because of unsafe keeping.
"The authorities of the state have entered the premises and taken over the same but without preparing any inventory of the articles," the counsel submitted and prayed for directions to the respondents to do the needful in presence of the petitioner or his authorised representative.
He added that a copy of the inventory be made available to the petitioner and it be ensured that while handing the hotel back to its owner all the items are returned in fine condition.
Appearing on behalf of the state government, Additional Advocate General (AAG) Sarvesh Kumar Singh admitted that the petitioners concerns deserved to be addressed but added that he would need to seek appropriate instructions, especially from the District Magistrate (DM) of Munger, under whose direction the hotel has been taken over.
"After receiving instruction, an appropriate affidavit will be brought on record along with an inventory of articles inside the hotel," the AAG submitted and added that the state's affidavit will also make a mention of the measures being taken for preventing damage to furniture and other equipment in the hotel.
The court issued directions to the DM for preparing an inventory either in presence of the petitioner or his manager within a week and hand over a copy of the same to the petitioner.
"In order to instill confidence in the inventory making process, videography of the premises and the articles (installed therein) may also be done," the court added.
Posting the matter for further hearing on June 2, the court directed the AAG to file counter affidavit within three weeks, hand over a copy of the same to the petitioner who could file a rejoinder if so desired within a week.
Close to 1,500 people are currently staying at 305 quarantine centers across Bihar, as per the state health department.