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SC backs move to demolish restaurants near Hampi site

The court upheld the validity of a 1988 State notification that “clearly indicates the entire village of Virupapura Gaddi as a protected zone:.  

The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed the Karnataka government authorities’ decision to demolish restaurants, hotels, guest houses and other buildings constructed in Virupapura Gaddi, an oval islet formed by the Tungabhadra river and located west of the Hampi World Heritage site.

Spelling relief for conservationists and a victory for the State government, a Bench of Justices Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and R. Subhash Reddy concluded that the constructions were in violation of the Mysore Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1961.

Agreeing with the Karnataka High Court decision that the Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority was empowered to order the demolition of the illegal buildings on the islet, the apex court ordered the authorities to proceed with their demolition work within a month of this judgment. “It is incumbent upon the authority not to turn a blind eye,” Justice Shantanagoudar, who authored the verdict, held.

The court upheld the validity of a 1988 State notification that “clearly indicates the entire village of Virupapura Gaddi as a protected zone.” It said a place need not necessarily boast a monument to be protected.

“It is possible for certain areas to be protected independent of the existence of monuments, if there is a reasonable belief that they contain ruins or relics of historical or archaeological importance,” the court observed

Historical importance

The court further notes how the Archaeological Survey of India has itself recognised the historical importance of Virupapura Gaddi.

“It appears that the government had considered the comprehensive geographical entity of the area, including attributes like its landscape, prehistoric vestiges and water systems. Thus, the 1988 notification issued under Section 19(3) of the 1961 Act declaring Virupapura Gaddi as a protected area can’t be said to be without basis,” the court said.


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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 9:48:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-backs-move-to-demolish-restaurants-near-hampi-site/article30795728.ece

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