Staff Reporter

‘BDA asked to reconsider acquisition in two villages'

BDA asked to submit a report to High Court within four months

Owners may be given sites proportionate to land acquired

BANGALORE: The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the acquisition of land by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) for the Arkavathy Layout in Bangalore.

A three-member Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice D.K. Jain gave the go-ahead to the BDA for forming a residential layout at Arkavathy, thus putting an end to a six-year legal battle between the authority and the landowners.

Several landowners had filed a special leave petition before the Supreme Court against a High Court order. The Supreme Court had reserved orders on petitions by Chikkaveerappa, Gerlad Manohar, and BEML Cooperative House Building Society.

On Wednesday, the Bench pronounced the verdict clearing the way for the BDA to go ahead with the stalled project.

Fiat to BDA

One of the advocates who appeared for the appellants, Radhakrishna S. Hegde, told The Hindu from Delhi that the Bench had asked the BDA to reconsider acquisition of lands in two villages surrounding the project area —Sriramapura and K. Pura. He said the Bench had directed the BDA to reconsider acquiring small parcels of land in four villages surrounding Arkavathy Layout. The BDA had sought to justify the acquisition, saying that the land is needed for creating civic amenities and also for creating parks. The Bench, Mr. Hegde said, observed that such acquisition did not fall within the original plan and hence it had to be re-examined.

The Bench also made it clear that the BDA would have to submit a report on these aspects to the Karnataka High Court within four months.

On acquisition of land, the Bench said the BDA would have to give back 15 per cent of the acquired land to the landowner if the acquired land was less than half an acre.

This, it said, would be in lieu of the compensation. If the acquisition was more than half an acre, the BDA would have to give to the landowner a 30 ft. by 40 ft. site at the prevailing market rate and pay compensation to the landowner.

Today's judgment has come as a shot-in-the arm for the BDA which had been pilloried for failing to provide sites to people in Arkavathy Layout. When the BDA initially planned the layout, it was a Rs. 934-crore project meant to distribute 25,900 sites.

However, much of the land in the layout now needs to be redeveloped and BDA officials say work would start once they received a copy of the judgment.