HC frowns upon conduct of Bagalkot MLA, brother

The High Court of Karnataka has deprecated the conduct of Bagalkot MLA Veeranna C. Charantimath ’s brother in not disclosing that the MLA was part of the town planning authority’s board meeting when it decided to allot him a huge 7 acres and 39 guntas of industrial land for acquiring a mere 1 acre and 33 guntas of industrial land from him for the Upper Krishna Project (UKP).

The court also observed that the MLA “ought to have not participated in the board meeting when its agenda was the grant of land to his brother,” while pointing out that the apex court has time and again said that the “participation of relatives in the decision making process taints the decision.”

Mallikarjun C. Charantimath (brother of Mr. Veeranna Charantimath) had filed a petition before the High Court in 2019 seeking direction to the Bagalkot Town Development Authority to implement its December 17, 2012 resolution of allotting him a huge parcel of industrial land for acquiring his land.

A single bench of the High Court, which allowed his petition in July 2020, had directed the authority to implement the 2012 resolution. However, the authority later filed an appeal against this order.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Krishna S. Dixit and Justice Pradeep Singh Yerur, during hearing of the appeal scrutinised the records of the board meeting held in 2012, and found that the MLA was part of the meeting in which it was resolved to allot 7 acres and 39 guntas of land to his brother.

Observing that “neither Mr. Mallikarjun nor the authority have whispered about this fact” in their pleadings or submissions, the Bench said that “this is a grave and culpable lapse on the part of the petitioner [Mr. Mallikarjun].” The Bench also said that it was not sure whether this fact was not brought to the notice of the single judge bench by Mr. Mallikarjun.

Though very suppression of an essential fact by a litigant itself can be a ground to non-suiting him, the Division Bench refrained from taking this extreme step while stating that Mr. Mallikarjun is eligible for an alternative industrial site of only 1 acre 33 guntas and not as resolved by the authority.

Mr. Mallikarjun had totally lost 6 acres and 6 guntas of land, of which only 1 acres 33 guntas was industrial site, but the authority had allotted him a bigger site besides granting monetary compensation for the entire acquired land. It was contended on behalf of Mr. Mallikarjun that the authority cannot refuse to implement its own resolution.

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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 8:11:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hc-frowns-upon-conduct-of-bagalkot-mla-brother/article34934682.ece

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