HC orders issue of notice to the government, KIADB

: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday ordered issue of notice to the State government and Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) on a petition alleging that the Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Bangalore urban district had illegally “changed” an order with respect to a dispute over a land due to the influence brought by Phaniraj Kashyap, son of Justice K. Sreedhar Rao, a sitting judge of the High Court.

In their petition, Tulasamma, Gangamma and Shivakumar, legal heirs of one Sadhu Munishamaiah, belonging to Schedule Caste, said the government had granted six acres of land, situated at Survey number 49 (new) of Bande Kodigehalli Palya in Jala Hobli, Bangalore north taluk, to Munishamaiah in 1946.

Mr. Phaniraj is one of the several persons who had purchased portions of this granted land between 1946 and 2005.

The petitioners pointed out that the sale of the land by Munishamaiah was illegal as it was in violation of the Karnataka Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prohibition of Transfer of Certain Lands) Act.

The petitioners said they had filed an appeal before the DC challenging the July 5, 2013, order of the Assistant Commissioner (AC) who refused to restore the land to them as per law as the sales were in violation of the Act.

The petitioners claimed that the DC, as a quasi-judicial authority, in front of their counsel, one Chokka Reddy, on July 10 had stayed the order of the AC and ordered issue of notices to the all the purchasers, including Mr. Phaniraj, a practicing lawyer, who had purchased two acres of the land in 2005.

It has been stated in the petition that when Mr. Reddy went to take the certified copies of the DC’s order on July 11, Mr. Phaniraj had approached the DC to file caveat petition in connection with AC’s order and at that time he [Mr. Phaniraj] “came to know or learnt about the stay order passed the previous day.”

“Influence from father”

“Suddenly, the 14 respondent [Mr.Phaniraj] has approached the 3 respondent [DC] personally and got the influence from his father, who is the sitting judge of the High Court and succeeded in getting the stay order altered,” it has been alleged in the petition.

Senior Counsel Ashok Haranahalli, appearing for the petitioners, contended that the DC violated all norms of law in altering the order passed by him without issuing notices to the petitioner and also altering the stay order to make it appear that it was the original order passed on July 10.

While the DC had written “stayed, issue notice” on the appeal it was later changed to “issue notice to hear whether to give stay” was written by the DC.

It was also submitted by Mr. Haranahalli that the KIADB, which had acquired land purchased by Mr. Phaniraj, had paid him Rs. 1.24 crore as compensation on July 17, ignoring the objections raised by the petitioners and accepting Mr. Phaniraj’s claims.

Justice A.N. Venugopala Gowda, who heard the arguments, sought State Advocate-General Ravivarma Kumar and Senior Counsel P.S. Rajgopal’s views on whether the High Court can order a probe against the DC when he acts as a quasi-judicial authority. Both have said the court can do so.

The court adjourned the hearing to Wednesday.

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