A Karnataka High Court Bench of Justice Suraj Govindaraj has directed the Bangalore Development Authority to allot 2 guntas of land and pay compensation of Rs. 5 Lakhs to a person whose land was utilized forcefully, unauthorisedly and without the sanction of law.

Senior Counsel Ruben Jacob appeared for the Petitioner, while Counsel Unnikrishnan M appeared for the Respondents.

In this case, it was contended that the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had forcefully formed a layout on the land belonging to the petitioner's father. After legal action was taken, the BDA admitted that 7 of the 11 guntas of land had been utilised, and agreed to allot property equivalent of 3.5 guntas in compliance with an order passed by the Court.

The petitioner approached the Court contending that there was only a partial compliance of the order passed by the Court inasmuch as total extent of petitioner’s land was 11 guntas whereas the BDA has admitted formation of sites only for 7 guntas leaving a balance of 4 guntas.

On perusal of the facts, the Court observed that "the CITB, predecessor of the BDA having formed HAL IV Stage and admittedly used 7 guntas of land belonging to the petitioner for formation of layout, it would be a fraud played by the BDA on this Court and the petitioner by contending that 4 guntas of land has not been utilised by the BDA and that the onus of protecting the said 4 guntas of land is on the petitioner. The BDA having the audacity to contend that 7 guntas of land have been utilised for the formation of road without acquisition, has the further audacity to contend that 4 guntas of land has to be protected by the petitioner." The Court further held that such conduct was obnoxious.

In furtherance of the same, the Court also observed that as BDA is a statutory authority, it is required to act in terms of the applicable statute. In that context, it was said that "the BDA had no business in the first place to make use of a land of a private citizen for formation of layout without acquisition. The Addl. Land Acquisition Officer having admitted utilisation of 7 guntas of land for formation of the road and having also made available 3½ guntas of developed land in lieu thereof cannot skirt from the responsibility of making submissions as regards the balance 4 guntas."

In a similar context, it was also observed that "The entire land being covered by either road or a site with a particular site number, it does not now lie for the BDA to state that the said land has not been utilised and/or that the BDA has nothing to do with the same since it has at no point of time exercised domain or ownership to the extent of land or further contend that the onus lies with the petitioner."

Subsequently, the Court provided relief to the petitioner, by ordering that the BDA must allot 2 guntas of land to the petitioner, and costs of Rs. 5 Lakhs.

Cause Title: K Srinivas Murthy v. The Bangalore Development Authority and Ors.

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