The Karnataka High Court on Thursday observed that some officials in the urban development authorities across the State become “stinking rich” during the period of issuance of preliminary and final notifications for acquisition of land for the formation of layouts.

Justice A.N. Venugopala Gowda made these observations orally during the hearing of a petition relating to denotification of land acquired for public purpose.

Following concern expressed by the court on the government’s action of denotifying acquired land without any norm or guideline during hearing of this petition earlier, the State had, on December 20, 2012, issued a Government Order setting out certain guidelines for denotification and constituted a committee to scrutinise applications for denotification of acquired land.

The court, through this petition, has been analysing various stages of acquisition of land, and had appointed advocate P.S. Manjunath as amicus curiae for suggesting the ways and means to check arbitrariness in the process of acquisition and denotification of land.

Meanwhile, pointing out that the authorities indulge in indiscriminate acquisition of land as well as dropping land from the process of acquisition, the judge pointed out that mainly some deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners “mint money” between the process of these two notifications.

The court also observed that earlier it was people belonging to the political party to which the Ministers or the Chief Minister are associated who ith were able to get the “benefit” of denotification, but now the caste of those seeking denotification is playing a crucial role irrespective of their party affiliations. In many cases, the judge observed, it is the middlemen and others who benefited from denotification rather than the original land owners.

Registration

The High Court on Thursday ordered issue of notice to the State government on a PIL petition questioning the concept of “anywhere registration” of properties and documents.

A Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice K. Sreedhar Rao and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed the order in the petition filed by A. Rajashekhar, a resident of Bangalore.

It has been claimed in the petition that though the objective of this concept introduced in November 2011 was to facilitate an easy process of documentation and approach to a registration office, it contains several loopholes that resulted in some persons benefiting at the cost of the Exchequer.

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