Division Bench of High Court of Karnataka poses query to government

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday asked the State government how the Karnataka Housing Board (KHB), an instrumentality of the Government, can enter into joint venture agreement with private builders and developers to form residential layouts.

A Division Bench, comprising acting Chief Justice K. Sreedhar Rao and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, posed this query to the Government during hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition challenging the 150-acre housing project in Kesare village in Mysore city.

“It is not befitting of you [State government] to relegate the KHB to this level. How can you lend KHB’s name to someone’s project. Such a thing is heard only in commercial taxes domain. Today, it is the KHB, and tomorrow, you may do the same for the government itself. It will only dilute sanctity of the government,” the Bench observed orally.

Agreements

The Bench made the observation when it was told that the KHB enters into joint venture agreements with private developers, at times, lending its name to residential layout projects, where developers do all the work with their funds but earmarks certain area for allotment to persons from weaker sections through the KHB.

The Division Bench questioned how the KHB can lend its name to private developers’ projects when layouts formed by such developers are often criticised for violations.

The petitioner, Narayan, has claimed that the KHB’s agreement with Central Resorts Pvt. Ltd. (now Mysore Realties Pvt. Ltd.) was only “a real estate venture and would not help poor persons”.

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