BENGALURU: Taking serious note of the government’s inaction on large-scale land encroachers in urban areas, the High Court on Friday directed the state to clear such encroachments and file a status report by February 27.
After hearing a public interest petition, a division bench of Justice K L Manjunath and Justice S Sujatha directed the Revenue Department to not evict people who have encroached upon small holdings if their applications are pending before the authorities concerned. This direction came after amicus curiae Sajan Poovayya objected to the Revenue Department “targeting only the poor who have encroached small areas” while standing a mute spectator to the land sharks.
The bench also accused government engineers of being apathetic during hearings. “We know how government engineers compute distance while planning projects. If we ask them to give the distance between the High Court and Vidhana Soudha, they will say 10 km! And they will justify it by showing the route through KR Circle, BBMP Circle and MG Road,” the bench said.
Action Sought on Dumping in SWDs
The High Court asked the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) whether it has taken any action against the people dumping debris and waste in Storm Water Drains (SWDs).
Hearing a public interest petition filed by Citizen Action Group, the division bench comprising Justice K L Manjunath and Justice S Sujatha, observed that no action has been taken against the people dumping waste, including debris of demolished buildings, in storm water drains. The bench also observed that BBMP will now not do anything till the next monsoon.
Meanwhile, in its statement submitted before the bench, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) stated that Ulsoor lake was taken up for replacement of the sewerage network. Several works have been executed to rectify the problems. At present, entry of sewage water from two SWDs leading to Ulsoor lake has been stopped.
The water supply board explained that lakes are being polluted by the sewage flow from 110 villages included in the BBMP area. The government has allocated 10 TMC of water for the 110 villages.
A project will simultaneously be implemented to provide UGD network, immediately after the approval. Once completed, the entry of sewage into the lakes will be reduced further, BWSSB said.
‘Produce Missing Girl Within a Week’ The High Court on Friday ordered Mangaluru Police Commissioner S Murugan to trace a 23-year-old woman who went missing in October last year and to produce her before the court within a week.
The order was passed while hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Moideen Shah, brother of the missing woman, Rafina, from Bijai, Kapikkad in Mangaluru. The division bench comprising Justice N Kumar and Justice B Veerappa refused to grant the two weeks sought by Murugan, who appeared before the bench.
“We are not doing it. It is not right to give two weeks’ time as it is the question of the life of a woman. Trace her within a week and produce her before the court,” the bench told Murugan.
Earlier, Murugan informed the bench that he was making all efforts to trace the woman after he took charge as commissioner recently.
In the petition, Shah said that three years ago, his sister got married to Mohammed Rafiq, a resident of Zareena Manzil, Krishnapura of Mangaluru, who is working at Saudi Arabia. Rafina did not return home after she went to AJ Hospital in Mangaluru on October 20 last year to visit her mother-in-law as she had been hospitalised. A day after this, a missing complaint was filed at Urva Police Station.
“Later we came to know that Nisar, brother-in-law of Rafiq, was constantly in touch with my sister before she went missing. The police did not take any action against Nisar despite being provided with the call details. Mohammed Siraj, brother of Mohammed Rafiq, quarreled with us when we went to enquire about my sister’s whereabouts. We suspect the involvement of Rafiq and Siraj. But the police has not acted against them,” Moideen alleged.
Lifetime Road Tax: Notice to Transport Secretary
Bengaluru: Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh on Friday issued a notice to the Transport Department Secretary in connection with a writ petition challenging the imposition of lifetime road tax on non-Karnataka vehicles plying in the state for more than 30 days.
Advocate Waseem Memon, representing petitioner Ananth Karatraparambil, a resident of Thrissur, Kerala, appealed to the bench to declare the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Taxation (Amendment) Act, 2014, unconstitutional, illegal and ultra vires as no amendment was made to the Motor Vehicles Act and the President’s consent was not obtained.
Any state amendment superseding the Union government’s Acts or rules should have the President’s assent. But this law was amended with just the governor’s approval, Memon contended.
The petitioner said once road tax is paid in a particular state, it should be sufficient for the owner to use the vehicle anywhere in the country.