By Shyam Prasad S

Bangalore: Right to Property may no longer be a Fundamental Right under the Constitution of India, but it has acquired the characteristics of human rights. The High Court has made it clear that land of private persons cannot be take away by executive “fiat or order or administration caprice”. A family whose lands were taken away for construction of a road will now get back 100 per cent of the land as compensation. The BDA, which took the land, will also pay a fine of Rs 25,000.

Peddakka Muniyappa and her sons Peddanna and M Ramaiah approached the High Court seeking a direction to the Bangalore Development Authority “to allot alternate land of equal dimension in well developed commercial area” as compensation to their land that was occupied by the civic agency for formation of a road in Bengaluru. Their land was taken over without authorisation by the BDA.

The family owned 2 acres and 2 guntas of land in Nagadevanahalli which had various fruit trees on it. The BDA took over 15.5 guntas of land out of this to build a connecting road between Magadi Main Road and Mysore Road in 2011. Of the 15.5 guntas, 6 was classified as B-jarab land. In 2012, the BDA passed a resolution to allot alternate land to them.

In pursuance of the resolution 3.99 guntas of land was allotted in Kacharakanahalli and a 12×8 metre site in HBR Layout. Meanwhile in several other cases there were allegations of the civic agencies making fake alternate allotments. Dr Shashidhar Committee was set up by the government in the issue which recommended that instead of alternate sites, monetary compensation should be paid for those who lose land to development projects.

Following the acceptance of such a recommendation by the government, the BDA informed Peddakka that the allotment made in her favour had been revoked.

Peddakka and her sons objected to this and demanded that their allotment be registered and 100 per cent alternate land be allotted to them. When BDA did not respond positively, they approached the HC. The HC noted that the land was utilised without being acquired from Peddakka first. After making an allotment of alternate land and site, it was revoked. “I find that entire action of the BDA is highly illegal and arbitrary”.

Citing a Supreme Court judgement, the HC said that “right to property has been now considered to be not only constitutional or a statutory right but also a human rights.”

About the compensation, the HC said, “The land and site allotted could be set off against 50 per cent of the land utilised plus the loss and damage sustained by petitioners. Towards the remaining 50 per cent the BDA shall allot alternate land of equal value.” The BDA was ordered to issue possession certificate to the 3.99 guntas of land the site in HBR Layout within 30 days. For the balance 50 per cent, it was directed to pay compensation in terms of the prevailing market rate as per the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency Act.

BDA’s act ‘shocking’

The HC slammed the BDA in no uncertain terms. It said in its judgement, “Such an action by an instrumentality of the State is inconceivable and incomprehensible. It shocks the conscience of all law abiding citizens. This is a case of clear violation of Article 21 of the Constitution. Such acts of misfeasance and malfeasance if not dealt with firmly will breed disrespect for governance for the rule of law and the role of the courts. It will be a slur on the system. To say the least the BDA has abused its power.”

Source: Bangalore Mirror

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