Petrol outlet set up on site meant for park to be shut after SC ruling

Putting a break on the practice of diverting a civic amenity (CA) site earmarked for a particular use, the Supreme Court has ruled that the State government and the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) have no power to allot CA sites for use other than that earmarked in the master plan.

The court cited this rule as mentioned in Section 38A of the BDA Act, 1976, as part of its reasoning.

A Bench comprising Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar and Justice A.K. Sikri delivered the verdict on November 29 while dismissing appeals filed by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) questioning the 2011 order of the Karnataka High Court, which had set aside allotment of a CA site to BPCL in 2005 for opening a petrol station at CA Site No-2, HRBR Layout (Kalyan Nagar), 3rd Block.

Several residents of the locality, led by Subramanya, had moved the High Court in 2006 questioning the allotment and seeking restoration of the area into a park, for which the area was earmarked in the comprehensive development plan (CDP) of 1984.

“We do not find any merit in the submission that the term civic amenities would permit BDA to change the reservation from one particular user to another,” the Bench said while making it clear that “It is for the very civic amenity, for which the area is reserved, for which it has to be put to use.”

Reserved for park

The site in question was carved out from the area reserved for a park in the CDP of 1984. Later, the BDA utilised this area to form three CA sites, one of which was Site No-2, in CDP 1995. The BDA had informed under RTI Act that CA Site No-2 was earmarked for “bank”. The State and the BDA in 2005 had allotted it to BPCL for a period of 30 years on lease to open a “petrol bunk”, and the BPCL in turn had allotted the pump to an individual to operate the fuel station.

The Bench also refused to accept the arguments that the BDA and the State were right in allotting the CA site to BPCL as both the “banks” and “petrol bunk” fall under the definition of “civic amenities” in the BDA Act with inclusion of “fuel stations” under this definition from 1990.

May be a bank

With this verdict, the petrol outlet, functioning on the site since 2006, can’t be allowed to operate. However, it can be used only for a bank as the residents gave up their plea for restoring the area into a park before the apex court, saying such a step may cause havoc as two ground-level water reservoirs has been constructed in the neighbouring CA site.

Residents are upbeat. “We want people to know that it is the right of residents of every locality to demand that CA sites are properly earmarked and utilised accordingly.”

However, they are writing to the BDA and BPCL for not closing the petrol station even 15 days after the verdict.

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