Government will have to rehabilitate persons evicted from Bellandur land, tells HC

The Karnataka High Court on Monday said that prima facie it is of the view that the State government will have to provide rehabilitation or give some compensation to those who were evicted from their shanties put up on a private land in Bellandur, based on a notice issued by the jurisdictional police to the land owner.

The court also observed that prima facie it is not possible to accept that the occupants of the shanties had left on their own as claimed by the owners of the land, bearing survey number 35/2 of Kariyammana Agrahara, Bellandur, behind Mantri Espana apartments in Marathahalli police limits.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar made these observation during the hearing of a PIL petition, filed by People’s Union for Civil Liberties - Karnataka, in which it was alleged that the police and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) had carried out illegal eviction of poor people living in the shanties.

As both the police and the BBMP denied having evicted them, the land owners claimed that they came to know that some persons had illegally occupied their land by putting up shanties and the occupants left the land on their own following requests made by the land owners.

However, the bench declined to believe the claim that the occupants of shanties left on their own while observing that all actions began after the Marathahalli police inspector issued a notice asking one of the two owners of the land to remove illegal shanties put up on the land though the police have no such power in law.

Saying the action of the Marathahalli police inspector was nothing but ‘usurping the power of the civil court’, the bench asked how senior police officers, like Deputy Commissioner of Police (Whitefield division) and Assistant Commissioner of Police (Marathahalli sub-division), did not stop or act against the inspector as copies of the notice were sent to them.

Illegal immigrants

On the reference to the possibility of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh living in those shanties, the bench said there was no material in the official records to show that police made any enquiry on illegal immigrants staying in the shanties before issuing the notice.

However, the court found from the police records that a few complaints were filed by certain individuals alleging that illegal immigrants living in colonies and slums in the city are taking over the labour and household works from the locals. Also, the police records had copy of a letter, written in October 2019 by the Ministry of Home Affairs to the State government, to sensitise the police on identifying illegal immigrants.

While asking the State to respond whether it is prepared to help those who were evicted due to illegal action of the police, the bench adjourned further hearing till February 10.

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Printable version | Mar 7, 2021 9:01:23 AM |

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