Notice to State, BMRCL on petition by Dalit organisations

The Karnataka High Court on Friday refused to stay its December 12 order directing the State government to temporarily shift the statue of B.R. Ambedkar located in front of the Vidhana Soudha.

A vacation Division Bench comprising Justice H. Billappa and Justice V. Suri Appa Rao said it cannot pass any interim order on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition, filed by Mavalli Shankar of the Karnataka Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (Ambedkawada) and various other Dalit organisations opposing the December 12 order.

However, the Bench ordered issue of notice to the State government and Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. asking them to respond to the pleas made in the petition.

A Division Bench headed by the then Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen, while observing that the presence of Ambedkar’s statue in front of the Vidhana Soudha amid the ongoing work on the metro “may endanger the statue itself”, had said that the government cannot shirk from its responsibility of temporary removal of the statue regardless of whose statue it may be when it was in the public interest. The Bench had also asked the government to temporarily shift the statue within 15 days to a suitable location within the vicinity of the Vidhana Soudha.

However, the Dalit organisations in their PIL petition said that there was no need for shifting the statue while contending that construction of the metro itself would cause damage to the Vidhana Soudha and the High Court building. They also contended that the order for shifting the statue was passed without issuing notice to the authorities concerned.

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