For over a year now, the Bangalore Development Authority has been placing advertisements in newspapers announcing the public auction of corner as well as intermediary plots. Even as BDA officials hailed the initiative as a solution to the agency’s revenue crunch, several rights groups including the Arkavathy Layout Allottees Association have accused the BDA of running a real estate business.

However, an April 2009 High Court order dug out by an activist shows that the auction of intermediary plots is not just a controversial policy issue but also rank illegal.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, RTI activist B.M. Shivkumar produced a copy of an April 24, 2009 division bench order which clearly states that only residential corner and commercial plots can be auctioned.

Para 19 of the order states that “as per provisions of the BDA (disposal of corner sites and commercial sites) Rules 1984 corner sites are required to be disposed of only by public auction”.

However, in respect of other residential or intermediary plots, the order quotes the same 1984 rules to state, “intermediary sites are required to be offered for allotment to eligible persons as per Rule-3. These intermediary sites cannot be disposed of by public auction.” Further the order states that non-corner, residential plots are to be allotted to eligible applicants.

Brandishing a clutch of advertisements issued by the BDA announcing the auction of intermediary plots, Mr. Shivkumar said, “This auction is completely illegal. It is in violation of a High Court order that is based on the 1984 rules notified by the government.”

He also said that those who purchase these plots in the auction might be running a huge risk. “Anybody can challenge these purchases in court. Those buying plots in auctions should be careful as the court might annul the transaction,” he said.

Criticising the BDA, he said that there are lakhs of people waiting for plot allotments in the city. “Instead of giving them allotments that are due for as many as 30 years [in some cases], they are running this money making racket,” he said.

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