‘February GO was to remove overlapping of jurisdiction’

The powers of the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) has not been taken away: the task force can register a case and proceed with the investigation against any person, including government servants under the specific special laws, the State government on Monday clarified to the Karnataka High Court.

The government termed as “ill-founded” the allegations made in a public interest litigation (PIL) petition, filed by H. Pramod and others, that the BMTF’s powers were withdrawn through a Government Order (GO) on February 2, 2013.

The PIL claimed that the powers were “withdrawn” after the BMTF started registering cases against some top bureaucrats, the then Mayor and some prominent Ministers in the previous BJP government.

Special acts

“The BMTF can register a case and proceed with investigation of the case if the facts contained in the complaint disclose the offences under the special acts with or without those relevant under the Indian penal Code (IPC) and the Karnataka Police Act,” the government statement said.

However, the State made it clear that “if the complaint discloses commission of the alleged offences only under the IPC or Karnataka Police Act, then it will not be competent on the part of the BMTF to proceed with the investigation in the light of the High Court’s 1997 judgment in Dr. S.M. Kalligudd and others vs. the State of Karnataka.”

The provisions

The government said the BMTF could exercise its power under the following special laws: the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976; the Karnataka Municipalities Act, 1964; the Bangalore Development Authority Act, 1976; the BWSSB Act, 1964; the Karnataka Slum Areas (Improvement and Clearance) Act, 1973; the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964; the Karnataka Land Reforms Act, 1961; the BMRDA Act, 1985; and the Karnataka SC/ST (Prohibition of Transfer of Certain Lands) Act, 1978.

Conscious effort

It said the GO of February 2013 was a conscious effort on the part of the State government to remove the anomalies of overlapping of jurisdiction and to protect the action of the BMTF from being questioned (in courts) for want of express authority under the law.

Adjourned

The hearing on the PIL petition, which came up before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice A.S. Bopanna, has been adjourned to July 23.

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