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HC summons Karnataka govt on plea challenging amendments to BDA Act, town planning act

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The Karnataka High Court on Thursday summoned the State Government in a petition challenging the state amendment to the Bangalore Development Authority (Amendment) Act and the Karnataka Town and Country Planning (Fourth Amendment) Act.

The division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty heard the petition filed by Vijayan Menon.

The petitioner is a member of the Citizens Action Forum which has been instrumental in filing several public interest litigations which has resulted in increased accountability and transparency, particularly with respect to several developmental projects that have been taken up in the Bengaluru Metropolitan Area.

According to the Petition, “The BDA Amendment Act introduces Section 38-D to the Bangalore Development Authority Act, 1976. Section 38-D allows for the purposes of allotment, to hold an enquiry. Section 38-D further stipulates certain conditions for the allotment of the land. Some of the conditions include the existence of the building on such land and in settled possession for not less than 12 years prior to the date of commencement of the BDA Amendment Act.”

The BDA Amendment Act, by allowing for regularisation of unauthorised constructions/occupations on BDA lands, in effect, has gone one step beyond the Scheme. The Scheme had primarily sought to regularise the following: (a) The unauthorised development of land by the owner in contravention to what the owner had permission to develop the land for; (b) The unauthorised and illegal change of land use by the owner and (c) The unauthorised construction on buildings and sites which go beyond the permission granted at the time of issuance of the commencement certificate for the construction by the respective authorities, states the Petition.

It was further stated that the KTCP Amendment Act introduces Section 18-B under which constructions can make use of premium floor area ratio for a building by making a application and paying premium charges. The KTCP Amendment Act states that by premium floor area ratio is an additional floor area ratio permitted over and above the ordinary and permissible floor area ratio . The KTCP Amendment Act, like the BDA Amendment Act, has been enacted without due public consultation and without having been brought to the notice of the BMPC. By circumventing the BMPC, the KTCP Amendment Act has also violated the provisions of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act, 1976 as well as the Constitution of India.

The BDA Amendment Act, the KTCP Amendment Act and the KTCP Amended Rules Notification are also violative of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961 whose main objectives are for planned growth and development with a view to improve the standard of living and the overall environment. By enacting the BDA Amendment Act, which regularises illegal and unauthorised constructions especially on government land, and the KTCP Amendment Act, which allows for unplanned and relentless construction, the Respondents are actively enabling the violation of several legislations which have been enacted to aid the proper planning, development and improvement of the Bengaluru Metropolitan Area, said the petition.

The petitioner claimed that if urgent interim reliefs or measures are not passed, it would result in irreversible damage to the urban landscape of the Bengaluru Metropolitan Area as several unauthorised constructions will be rendered legal.

Read Also: CCTV cameras in police stations: SC order in right spirit but may not work on ground

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