In a relief to property owners, the High Court of Karnataka has quashed a circular issued by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in 2016 requiring the owners to mandatorily surrender the portion of their properties, earmarked for widening of roads in the Revised Master Plan (RMP)-2015, free of cost to the BBMP as a condition precedent for sanctioning of the building plans.
The court also quashed a series of endorsements given by the BBMP to several property owners informing them that their application for sanctioning of the building plans would be processed only if they surrender the earmarked portion of their properties for widening of roads to the BBMP free of cost.
Justice Hemant Chandangoudar passed the order while allowing a batch of petitions filed by Dr. Arun Kumar B.C of Vijayanagar and several other property owners from different localities in the city. The petitioners had questioned the legality of the 2016 circular and the endorsements given by the BBMP.
“This circular dated February 29, 2016 requiring the owners to surrender the properties earmarked for widening of roads free of cost at the time of sanctioning of building plans violates article 300A of the Constitution of India,” the court declared.
A conjoint reading of sections 12, 17(3), 70 and 71 of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, the court said, “indicate that if any land, needed for the purpose of town planning scheme or master plan shall be acquired by the government by taking recourse to the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act subject to payment of compensation to the owners of the land. Section 17(3) does not specify that the property earmarked for widening of the road requires to be surrendered free of cost at the time of sanctioning of the single plot.”
On BBMP’s contention that the Regulations 7.1(5) and 7.2(d) of the Zoning of Land Use and Regulations of the RMP-2015 requires relinquishment of lands for widening roads free of cost to the BBMP, the court said that these regulations are applicable only if the proposal for construction of residential buildings on a plot measuring more than 20,000 sq.mts. and proposal for construction of commercial buildings on plot measuring more than 12,000 sq.mts. The size of properties of all these petitioners are far less than the area prescribed in the regulations, the Court noted.
Even otherwise, the court said, the endorsements and the 2016 circular are arbitrary and discriminatory since the owners of the properties, earmarked roads in the RMP-2015, who have not applied for sanctioning of building plans will be entitled for compensation under the law if the said properties are required to be acquired for road widening as per the RMP-2015.
The petitioners cannot be deprived of their properties merely because they intend to develop their properties by obtaining sanction for plans to construct buildings, the court said.