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Supreme Court ordered enquiry against Bangalore Development Aauthority and the State Government for trying to exclude lands of influential persons from Land Acquisition. Hon'ble Mr. Justice K.N. Keshavanarayana, former Judge of the Karnataka High Court as the Inquiry Officer for fixing the responsibility on the officials of the BDA and the State Government who were responsible for the aforesaid.

August 4, 2018



Enquiry against Bangalore Developement authority in Land Acquisition cancellation

A Bench of Judges, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer have disposed of the Civil Appeal challenging the order of Division Bench of High Court of Karnataka in Bangalore Development Authority & Anr V. The State of Karnataka & Anr, Criminal Appeal No. 7661-63 of 2018. While disposing off the Appeals and Petitions, the Court observed that "it appears that the exclusion of the lands from acquisition was proposed in connivance with influential persons; political or otherwise. We are of the view that the BDA and the State Government have to proceed with the acquisition of these lands. We are also of the view that it is just and proper to hold an inquiry for fixing the responsibility on the officials of the BDA and the State Government for trying to exclude these lands from acquisition."

The Court said :

"Therefore, we appoint Hon'ble Mr. Justice K.N.Keshavanarayana, former Judge of the Karnataka High Court as the Inquiry Officer for fixing the responsibility on the officials of the BDA and the State Government who were responsible for the aforesaid. The Commissioner, BDA is hereby directed to consult Inquiry Officer and pay his remuneration. Further, we direct BDA to provide appropriate secretarial assistance and logistical support to the Inquiry Officer for holding the inquiry."

"In addition, we authorize the Inquiry Officer to appoint requisite staff on temporary basis to assist him in the inquiry and to fix their salaries. Further, the BDA is directed to pay their salaries. The State Government and the BDA are directed to produce the files/documents in relation to the aforesaid lands before the Inquiry Officer within a period of four weeks from today. We request the Inquiry Officer to submit his report to this Court as expeditiously as possible."

"The State Government and the BDA are further directed to proceed with the acquisition of the aforementioned lands without excluding land from acquisition and submit a report to this Court the steps taken by them in this regard within a period of three months from today. In addition, it was submitted at the Bar that several cases where similar orders of exclusion in relation to lands notified for acquisitions for the formation of 'Dr. K. Shivarama Karantha Layout' have been passed by the High Court and that BDA has failed to challenge those orders in connivance with the landowners and influential persons. We hereby direct the BDA to challenge all such orders/seek review of the said orders in accordance with law within a period of three months from today"


The facts of the case are:

On 30.12.2008 the BDA published a scheme and notification under Section 17 of the BDA Act for the formation of the layout at as "Dr. K. Shivaram Karanth Layout" including link roads.

The scheme was approved by Government of Karnataka vide its orders dated 3.12.2008. 45% of the land covered under the scheme was to be used for the civic amenities, playgrounds, roads etc., and the residential sites would be formed by utilizing the remaining 55% of the land. Out of this 55% developed residential area i.e. 40% of 55% will be offered as compensation to the farmers as specified in the scheme and the remaining 60% of 55% will be the share of BDA. The farmers were also given the option to accept either the developed eligible residential land or opt for compensation as per the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (for short "the LA Act"). Notice to that effect was thereby given to all concerned in accordance with the provisions of sub-Sections 1 and 3 of Section 17 of the BDA Act and in accordance with Section 36 of the BDA Act. The Special Land Acquisition Officer, Bangalore Development Authority, Bangalore, his staff, and workmen were authorized to exercise the powers conferred under Section 4(2) of the LA Act and section 52 of the BDA Act. Objections were also invited from the interested persons to be filed within 30 days of the publication of the notification. It was also mentioned that any sale, mortgage, assignment, exchange or otherwise of any layout or improvements made therein without sanction of the Deputy Commissioner (Land Acquisition), Bangalore Development Authority, Bangalore after the date of publication of the notification shall under Section 24 of the LA Act be disregarded by the Officer assessing compensation for such parts of the said lands as will be finally acquired.

The BDA has to consider the objections to the preliminary notification and submit them to the Government as required under the BDA Act. Under section 18(3) of the BDA Act it is for the Government to sanction the scheme and under Section 19 of the said Act, it is for the Government to make a final declaration and publication The BDA received a large number of objections. State Government also issued a direction to withdraw the acquisition of the land to the extent of 257 acres and 20 guntas from various villages. Representations for deletion were also favourably considered for 446 acres and 7 guntas of the land. In the year 2012, with regard to the withdrawal of acquisition of 446 acres and 7 guntas, and action of State Government questions were raised in the Assembly and the State Government ultimately ordered an inquiry to be held in the year 14.11.2012 and yet another inquiry was ordered by the State Government into the matter pertaining to the same acquisition on 19.01.2013.

The writ petitions were then filed on the ground that Government and the BDA had not taken any steps to issue a final notification or to develop the land for the last 5 years. The BDA refused to give permission to develop the land on the ground of preliminary notification under Section 17 of the BDA Act. Thus, right to enjoy the property has been taken away without finalizing the acquisition. It was submitted that the preliminary notification shall be deemed to have lapsed. Now, Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 has come into force. Therefore, it was urged that the impugned notification issued under Section 17(1) and 17(3) of the BDA Act was liable to be quashed, and a prayer was made to direct the respondents to give permission to develop the land.


It was contended on behalf of the BDA that while the Land Acquisition Officer was considering the representations under Sections 18(3) of the BDA Act, the State Government has directed the BDA to withdraw to the extent of 270 guntas of land from various villages. In view of the large number of representations filed under Section 18(1) of the BDA Act, time has been consumed. Ultimately deletion of 446 acres 7 guntas of land was favourably considered. In the meanwhile, the Board of BDA ordered an in-house inquiry to consider the findings of the Special Land Acquisition Officer regarding exclusion of land. The State Government also initiated suo moto inquiry vide Government Order dated 24.11.2012 and 19.1.2013 and constituted a Committee consisting of Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner, based on the newspaper reports and questions raised at the Assembly pertaining to illegal and discriminatory proposals for withdrawal/deletion of the land from the acquisition. It was learnt that the Committee has completed the inquiry and issue was before the State Government. In view of the pendency of the inquiry report before the State Government and in view of the practical difficulty, final notification under Section 19 of the BDA Act could not be issued on time.

It was also contended by the BDA that notice dated 3.5.2014 was issued to the landowners as there was the need for fresh inquiry. Therefore, the further process would be taken pursuant to the notification. Thus, it was contended by the BDA that no interference was called for in the writ petitions.

The Single Bench allowed the writ application and quashed the notification with respect to the lands of the appellants. The Single Judge in Writ Petition No.9640 of 2014 decided on 26th November 2014 along with other writ applications has observed that the Division Bench of the High Court in the case of H.N. Shivanna and Ors. vs the State of Karnataka, Department of Industries and Commerce, Bangalore, and Anr. (2013) 4 KCCR 2793 (DB) considering similar aspect held that, even though under Karnataka Industrial Area Development Act, no time limit has been prescribed, the period of two years would be appropriate for the purpose of completing acquisition.

Being aggrieved by the aforesaid decision, the writ appeal was filed before the Division Bench, which has been dismissed.


Read the Judgment of Supreme Court of India in Bangalore Development Authority & Anr V. The State of Karnataka & Anr, Criminal Appeal No. 7661-63 of 2018 dated 3.8.2018



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