The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday deprecated the new Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) commissioner for lacking basic knowledge of laws on encroachment.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice SR Krishna Kumar blasted the BBMP commissioner BH Anil Kumar while hearing a case on illegal construction of a temple in Malleshwaram when Kumar said that he needs to verify the documents to take action.
According to the public interest litigation filed by a man named HNA Prasad, Sri Venkateshwara Swamy temple located at Malleswaram 16th cross was illegally constructed on government land by encroaching the road and footpath. The HC bench lashed out at the BBMP commissioner, who had filed an affidavit in response to the PIL after he said that a survey should be conducted and documents verified to take action against the temple.
The HC said that a person in his position should have a minimum knowledge of the laws and should act accordingly. The court asked commissioner Kumar, "what If somebody builds a temple on the footpath in front of Vidhana Soudha? Will the BBMP commissioner demolish the structure under section 321 of the Karnataka Municipal Council (KMC) Act or look for documents on ownership of the land?"
The court has directed the civic authority to take actions against such encroachments and no sympathy shall be shown towards people who are grabbing government lands in the name of religion. The BBMP has been asked not to tolerate any illegal religious structures on any public properties.
The advocate representing the temple said that the temple is over three decades old and was earlier in a private layout, which was later given to BBMP. According to the reports, the temple management has appealed to the authority over granting ownership of the land.
However, the High Court has converted the case from PIL into a suo motu and has adjourned the hearing to October 17. The civic body has also asked for some time stating that commissioner Kumar has initiated steps against the encroachment.