The Karnataka High Court has found that the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had illegally granted a Partial Occupancy Certificate (PoC) to a popular knowledge park — which houses leading software firms — built by a prominent builder.

Justice Ravi Malimath, in his verdict, declared that the PoC granted on October 29, 2011, to Towers “C” and “D” of the IBC Knowledge Park on Bannerghatta Main Road, was illegal and beyond the scope of the provisions of the BBMP Building Bye-Laws-2003.

Ruling that the builder, IBC (India Builder Corporation) Knowledge Park Private Ltd., had illegally allowed many firms to occupy the building on rent prior to issuance of the PoC, the court said the builder was not entitled to retain the rent collected from these firms, and directed the BBMP Commissioner to take steps as per law against the builder and to evict tenants.

IBM India Pvt Ltd., GMR Projects Pvt Ltd., Accenture Services Pvt Ltd., Temenos India Pvt Ltd, Rambus Chip Technologies, and Oracle India Pvt Ltd. are among the tenants operating from towers “C” and “D”. The park was constructed by the builder through a joint development agreement with the landowner, Bangalore Housing Development and Investments, on its 53,974.81 sq. metres (nearly 14 acres) of land bearing number 4/1, Bannerghata Main Road.

The court passed orders on a petition filed by the landowner questioning the “conditional” PoC issued by the BBMP in violation of byelaws.

The BBMP had imposed 23 conditions while granting the PoC.

During the pendency of this petition, the BBMP on December 24, 2012, withdrew the PoC, and the builder questioned it in another petition, which the court has now dismissed. The builder had contended that the PoC could not have been withdrawn and the BBMP was aware of the induction of tenants as their occupation was “regularised” by collecting tax and fine .

Observing that the PoC under byelaw 5.7 could be granted only when a part of the building was completed in every aspect as per the sanctioned plan, the court asked how the BBMP could grant PoC when the building was incomplete as the BBMP itself had asked builder to rectify a series of deviations, which were yet to be rectified. The PoC could not be granted with conditions as the byelaw has no such provision, the court ruled. As byelaw 5.7 states that “no person shall occupy or allow any person to occupy new building or portion of it before issuance of OC by the Authorised Officer,” the court declared that the firms which occupied the spaces in towers “C” and “D” are “illegal occupants.”

The court also did not find, in the BBMP’s file, the mandatory opinion of the authorised officer on inspecting the portion of the building on its completion as per the sanctioned plan prior to granting the PoC.