“Is it a respectable thing to have B.R. Ambedkar’s statue in a hanging position? It is very bad. In what way is it disrespectful if the statue is shifted for the time-being? Other statues [of Jawaharlal Nehru and Subash Chandra Bose] have been already shifted. You have to consider the public opinion also. See the real situation.” A Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice K. Sreedhar Rao and S. Abdul Nazeer made these observations orally.
The Bench was a hearing a PIL petition filed by some Dalit organisations opposing shifting of statue and an application filed by the State government seeking more time to shift the statue.
While allowing another PIL petition, the High Court on December 12, 2012 had ordered for temporary shifting the statue from in front the Vidhana Soudha within 15 days to enable smooth work on Namma Metro while also observing that presence of statue at work site “may endanger the statue itself”.
When counsel for the Dalit organisations pointed out that the High Court had not taken the view of the State government before directing for shifting the statue and wanted the government to file its statement, the Bench orally observed that there was no need for government to file statement as the land had already been acquired and handed over to Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL), whose statement was sufficient.
The BMRCL in its statement had said that the work has been carried out without shifting the Dr Ambedkar’s statue by taking all precautions but had made it clear despite these precautions “accidental damage to the statue cannot be ruled out” as soil strata keeps changing and excavation is close below the statue. The BMRCL had also informed the court that additional around Rs. 100 crore would have to be spent for carrying out the work without shifting the statue.
Further hearing on the case has been adjourned to Wednesday.