No construction at Kapalabetta without our permission: HC

A view of Kapalabetta in Harobele village in Ramanagaram district.  

The High Court of Karnataka on Monday restrained Harobele Kapalabetta Abhivrudhi Trust from carrying out any construction without express permission from the court on 10-acre government gomal land granted to it at survey number 283 of Nallahalli village in Kanakapura taluk of Ramanagaram district where the trust proposes to install a 114-ft. statue of Jesus.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi passed interim order on a PIL petition filed by Anthony Swamy, a resident of Harobele village and seven others.

The petitioners have stated that they are “pained by by the illegal grant of a valuable government land for the petty, selfish, and electoral gains of two politicians, by blatant misuse of power for grabbing valuable land and putting up illegal constructions, causing immense damage to government gomal land, loss to exchequer, and causing communal harmony.”

Pointing out that population of Christian community in Kanakapura is only 2,000 of the total population of 7.5 lakh, of these 2,000 Christians, around 1,500 are residing in Harobele and Nallahalli villages, the petitioners said that idea of erecting a statue of Jesus was purely of ‘two brothers – D.K. Shivakumar and D.K. Suresh – for their selfish political gain and to create a vote bank for their party rather than promoting the Christian community’.

There is no demand or formal request by Christian community for the land or for a statue, the petitioner said while pointing out that there already was a church at the place to serve the local Christians.

Further pointing out that trust came into functioning only in June 2016, the petitioners said that process of allotment of land for the trust was, in fact, initiated by Mr. Shivakumar, who was Minister then, and Mr. Suresh, who is a MP, by writing separate but similar letters to Ramanagaram DC in February 2018 to allot 15 acres of this land for the trust.

“The trust was floated at their [two brothers] behest and the trustees are their front men, their staunch followers, and political party workers in the garb of devout Christians,” the petitioner alleged, while pointing out from the records secured through RTI that the trust had filed a formal application only in March 2018.

The petitioners have also contended that the land grant was contrary to several provisions of the Karnataka Land Grant Rules as well as the 2011 parameters prescribed by the Supreme Court for grant of government lands.

The petitioners have said that the land was finally granted to the trust on December 4, 2019, and the trust made the request to Nallahalli panchayat on the same day to call an emergency meeting the next day to grant building licence. Though the panchayat granted licence for house, several construction works were begun sans permission.

Also, the petitioners have said that the land is either under the Cauvery Wild Life Sanctuary’s eco-sensitive zone or abutting the zone.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 7:35:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/no-construction-at-kapalabetta-without-our-permission-hc/article32896422.ece

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