Inspection not needed at Arkavathy project: HC

The High Court of Karnataka has dismissed a petition that had sought spot-inspection of the controversial Arkavathi project lands by the Justice HS Kempanna Commission, which is probing the issue. The court also dismissed the plea for cross-examination of the chief minister and the Opposition leader saying it would serve no purpose and would be a bad practice.

The petitions were filed by S Nataraj Sharma, a resident of Bengaluru. He had earlier approached the Commission with the same request, which was rejected on August 31, 2016. A thousand acres of land was left out of the acquisition process in the layout leading to many site allottees with no site even after paying for it.

The first of his requests was to summon B Boraiah, the then additional land acquisition officer of the BDA for a hearing in connection with the recommendatory orders and the spot inspection reports submitted by him. The second request was for the spot inspection of 16 villages that comprise the Arkavathi project. The third request for summoning the present chief minister and the leader of Opposition of the Assembly to depose before the Commission in connection with the denotification orders passed during the present tenure.

The Commission rejected the request of Sharma saying it did not have the mandate to fix the culpability of any officer in power responsible for the alleged illegal exclusion of lands from acquisition. The exclusion of 983.33 acres and whether B Boraiah had passed the recommendatory order in conformity with court orders can be verified from the records and there was no need to summon him.

About the spot inspection, the commission said that conducting one after a lapse of 13 years from the preliminary notification for acquisition would serve no useful purpose. The HC held that the Commission was right in rejecting all three prayers made by Nataraj Sharma. Dismissing the petition, it said, “The enquiry is going on for a considerable period of time. Such interlocutory applications would only delay the enquiry proceedings. The writ petitioner cannot force the authorities to cite the CM and leader of Opposition as witnesses, so that he can cross-examine them. This would be a bad practice. Moreover, we are at loss to understand what the necessity was to call the chief minister?”

Credits Bangalore Mirror

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