Written by: Satyam Jain (Intern)
Edited by: Anubhav Yadav (Content Head & Developer)
A two-judge bench of the Karnataka High Court quashed the allotment of a plot to a trust headed by the wife of a Member of Parliament from BJP and fined the Karnataka Housing Board. The Court observed favouritism and disobedience of the prescribed procedure in the allotment.
The case was a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) filed by a 74-year old man.
Adinarayana Shetty v. Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department Karnataka Housing Board Murthi Charitable Trust
On August 23, 2004, a plot reserved for Civic Amenity Building was allotted to Murthi Trust, which is headed by Ms Gayatri, wife of BJP MP, Umesh G. Jadhav. The allotment was made by Karnataka Housing Board for a sum of Rs 22 lakhs. The allotment was questioned as the actual amount of the debated land was more than 10 crores. There were allegations of favouritism, bribery and disobedience of the prescribed procedure at the end of KHB.
One Adinarayana Shetty, a 74-year old gentleman from Bangalore, filed a PIL in the Karnataka High Court listing the Principal Secretary of UDD, KHB and Murthi Trust as the respondents.
Advocate Sunil Kumar H., while representing the petitioner, argued that the essential conditions were not fulfilled even after the flawed allotment of the plot. The major conditions violated were;
- One, the plot was to be used only for an Education and Public Service building;
- Two, the construction of the building was to be completed within two years;
- Three, KHB was to cancel the allotment without any prior notice after five years of non-construction of the building.
In response, Sr. Adv. Chandrashekhar SM argued that a registered document (while referring to the Sale deed) could not be cancelled under Article 226 and the petitioner had to use the provisions of the Specific Relief Act.
The debated allotment was governed by the provisions of the Karnataka Housing Board Act, 1962.
The two-judge bench of Hon’ble Justice Satish Chandra Sharma (Acting Chief Justice) and Hon’ble Justice Sachin Shakar Magadum opined that State largesse should not be marred by any arbitrariness. The bench also observed that fairness in leasing out/ selling the state land is a sine qua non (an essential condition). The Court convicted KHB of favouritism; KHB was paid an additional amount of Rs.18 lakhs for the allotment. The bench ruled that the allotment could happen only after wide publicity of a transparent procedure.
The division bench imposed Rs.1 lakh fine on Karnataka Housing Board, which is to be paid to Karnataka Advocate Clerks Association. The HC ordered the Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department to conduct a fact-finding enquiry, whose report was to be produced before the State Government within 6 months. The state government is then expected to take penal action, as it deems fit. The court ruled that the money was to be retrieved from the offenders.