Karnataka High Court says it is time to close down Bangalore Development Authority by an Ordinance

Chief Justice of Karnataka suggests closing down Bangalore Development Authority due to illegal land acquisition and non-payment of compensation.

February 14, 2024 10:30 pm | Updated February 15, 2024 05:59 pm IST - Bengaluru

A file photo of the BDA building.

A file photo of the BDA building.

Its is time that the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) should be closed down by an Ordinance, said Chief Justice P.S. Dinesh Kumar of the High Court of Karnataka.

The Chief Justice, speaking for himself, made this oral remark while hearing an appeal related to the issue of non-payment of compensation for a land illegally acquired by the BDA without any acquisition process, for the past 21 years.

The remark was made when the Chief Justice, along with Justice T.G. Shivashankare Gowda in a Division Bench, was hearing the appeal filed by Muddegowda, who is now aged 60, a resident of Muddayyanapalya in the city.

The BDA took over Mr. Muddegowda’s land in 2003 for the Sir M. Visvesvaraya Layout without acquisition process and had driven him to a series of litigation. He filed the appeal in the High Court in June, 2015, challenging the March, 2015, order of the civil court, which had rejected his suit stating that he could not establish that the BDA had encroached his land and demolished sheds on the land.

Heard 52 times

During earlier hearings on the appeal, which was heard at least 52 times in the last nearly nine years, the BDA admitted that it had used 15 guntas of his land as against his claim of 18-20 guntas but the issue was dragged by offering sites in Kempegowda Layout as compensation as no site was available in Visvesvaraya Layout.

But the petitioner wanted a site in Visvesvaraya Layout or payment of compensation with interest.

When the appeal came up for hearing on February 13 morning session, the advocate for BDA said survey has to be conducted to ascertain the land. However, the Bench took serious exception to it and directed the personal appearance of BDA Commissioner N. Jayaram, an IAS officer, in the afternoon.

“What will a landowner have to do if the BDA makes him run around the BDA office for one quarter of a century?...” the Bench told the Commissioner while asking him why no compensation was paid for 21 years.

“Now, you [the BDA] will have to deposit the entire money [compensation], otherwise we will pass very harsh orders,” the Bench told the Commissioner, while making it clear that it is not finding him personally at fault as he was not the Commissioner when the land was illegally used but it was concerned about the system within the BDA.

The Bench adjourned further hearing till Thursday, asking the Commissioner to file an affidavit stating the date on which compensation would be paid.

Go in disguise, see how your office is reeking, HC tells BDA commissioner

The High Court of Karnataka told BDA Commissioner that he should go to his office premises in disguise to practically experience what is happening in the BDA.

“We request you do go to your office in disguise, may be around 11 o’clock, 12 o’clock, or 3 o’clock. See how your office is reeking... People are not allowed inside. There are hundreds of agents who claim to get works done. People are shooed away...,” the Chief Justice told the Commissioner.

Pointing out that the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority gets several letters from senior citizens about the BDA and other issues, the Bench said. “Apply your mind and do something, you will get goodwill and best wishes from so many people”.

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