J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday set aside an order of the Karnataka High Court insofar as it declined to implead Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises, which is implementing the Rs. 2,250-crore Bangalore-Mysore Expressway Corridor Project, in the contempt proceedings initiated by Gottigere village panchayat.

A Bench of Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice Markandey Katju while setting aside the impugned order asked the High Court to dispose of the contempt case within two months after impleading and hearing Nandi.

Acting on a writ petition, the High Court had passed an order in June 1999 that no road should be laid bisecting the Gottigere tank, preventing or disturbing the inflow of water into the tank.

Contempt petition

Based on this direction, the village filed a contempt petition alleging that the alignment of the approved peripheral road of the project would pass through the tank and that it would amount to contempt of court. When Nandi filed an application for impleadment, the High Court rejected the application. The present appeal is directed against this order.

In its appeal, Nandi said that though it was implementing the project under the Framework Agreement, it was not made a party before the High Court. It said there was an attempt to extract an order behind the back of the petitioner.

It was significant to note that these proceedings were initiated at a time when the new Government took over in the State.

It said that the State Government issued a letter asking Nandi to stop the work on the project until the matter was resolved in terms of the directions of the High Court.

Alleging that it was intended to prevent the petitioners from constructing the peripheral ring road in Phase 1 as approved by the Supreme Court and sought a direc-tion to quash the impugned order.