The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday directed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahangara Palike (BBMP) not to demolish a multi-storey building which has been built abutting a storm-water drain as per the plan approved by the authorities, without cancelling the plan as per the law.
Justice Anand Byrareddy passed the order while disposing of a petition filed by S.N. Builders and Developers and its managing director Shah Sanjay. The court restrained the authorities from taking any coercive action against the petitioner or the multi-storeyed apartment complex as long as the sanctioned plan stood valid.
Earlier, the counsel contended that the personnel of the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) were “harassing” the petitioner by asking him to appear before them though there was no specific complaint against him. It was also informed to the court that the BBMP could possibly demolish a multi-storeyed building built by the petitioner at Bilekahalli abutting a storm-water drain while pointing out that the building was built as per the plan approved by the authorities.
At this stage, the court wondered how the civic body could demolish buildings built as per the approved plan without first cancelling the sanctioned plan by following due process of law in case of any construction that has been put up by encroaching upon public land or violating regulations.No arrest or harassment
While hearing petitions filed by some of the serving and retired officials of the BBMP and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) against registration of FIR for approving plans for construction in buffer zone, the court directed the BMTF not to arrest them or not to “harass” them when they appear before the investigating agency as per the court order for cooperating with the probe.Any compensation?
The court also wondered was there any mechanism to pay compensation for those people who had lost their shelter overnight because of the BBMP’s drive against storm-water drain “encroachment”.
“Where do these people go for cover? Nobody is talking about these aspects,” Mr. Justice Byrareddy observed orally.
Meanwhile, the government counsel said the demolition exercise was undertaken only on encroachments of storm-water drains, and no action was taken against construction in buffer zones as the issue was pending before the Supreme Court, where verdict of the National Green Tribunal on buffer zone had been challenged.