KARNATAKA

Palace Grounds: Wadiyar says he will file contempt petition



Rasheed Kappan

Mega event organisers are looking at alternative venues

BANGALORE: With the Bangalore Palace Grounds in the middle of a legal wrangle for ownership between the Government and the Mysore royal family, mega event organisers are shifting to alternative venues.

Blaming "government harassment" for this development, the scion of the royal family, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, has threatened to file a contempt petition in the Supreme Court next month if it continued.

Advised by the Wadiyar-run Palace management, popular international rock band, Deep Purple, has now opted for a safer place: the Cathedral High School Grounds to stage its show next fortnight. Event management firm, Alap has found Christ College a better option for its December 17 Hariharan concert.

DNA Networks, the event managers for the Deep Purple show, refused to comment on their decision to opt out of the Palace Grounds.

The Palace management told the event managers that it should not be held responsible if the Government initiated action against them. "We did not refuse permission. We just told them it (the show) might cause problems. I am being forced to do so because cases are being filed against people who hold events," Mr. Wadiyar told The Hindu from Mysore. Mr. Wadiyar claimed that the Supreme Court order was clear that functions could happen in the Palace Grounds without interference from the Government provided the State was intimated about it.

If the harassment continued, a contempt petition would be filed against the Government in the Supreme Court, he said. "We have kept our lawyers abreast of the situation. We will wait till the end of the month," he added.

When contacted, the State Revenue Department officials denied having "harassed" the event organisers. If the organisers exceeded the permission granted by the Department of Personnel Administration and Reforms (DPAR), the violations were reported to the Government, said an official.

"We have not booked any cases. Our interest is in the maintenance of status quo, which says functions at the grounds can be organised only with the permission of the DPAR. If there are violations, we object to that," he said.

To "clear" the Palace Grounds of all "unauthorised structures", and to ban any event from taking place on the 464.15 acres of prime property, the Government has filed an application before the Supreme Court.

In recent years, the Palace Grounds has emerged as a hotspot for several high profile events, including music shows, exhibitions, book fairs and food festivals.