The high court on Friday held that the building in which the JD(S) office is situated on Race Course Road in Bangalore belongs to the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC).
A division Bench of Justices N Kumar and V Suri Appa Rao directed JD(S) to vacate the property and hand it over to KPCC within three months and bear the litigation cost.
Rangaswamy, the original owner of the property, had donated it to Bangalore City Congress Committee in 1949 as he was impressed with the Indian National Congress Party’s role in the freedom struggle.
As per records, the Mysore Pradesh Congress Committee constructed the building on the property donated by Rangaswamy in 1954. The Indian National Congress split into Congress (O) and Congress (J). In 1969, Congress (O) was headed by former chief minister S Nijalingappa and Congress (J) was headed by former prime minister Indira Gandhi. Both parties claimed ownership over the said property.
The Election Commission recognised Congress (J) as the original Congress Party and held that the property belongs to Congress (J). The Apex court upheld the Election Commission’s order in 1971. However, some of the Congress (O) party members forcibly took possession of the property.
After the Emergency, Congress (O) formed a coalition with Janata Party and other parties and contested elections against Congress (J) in 1977. The property was transferred to Janata Party in the early 1980s. The KPCC filed a suit in the lower court claiming ownership over the property in 1981.
Janata Party became Janata Dal in 1988 and, thus, the property came into the possession of the Janata Dal. The JD(S) took possession of the property after Janata Dal was split into JD(S) and JD(U).
The lower court had held that the property belongs to the KPCC and the JD(S) had appealed against the lower court’s order in the High Court.