High Court clears path for war memorial

The Karnataka High Court dismissed the petition against the proposed national military memorial to be constructed at the Indira Gandhi musical fountain park. The verdict, pronounced by a division bench comprising of Justices Manjula Chellur and Mohan Shantagoudar, on June 4th, said that the proposed war memorial is in the interest of the public and a matter of pride for the citizens of Bengaluru. The bench also said that the National Military Memorial Trust, under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister, will take care of the project.

Work at the war memorial site was halted in May this year, after the Chief Minister’s intervention. With the High Court verdict giving its nod, work is likely to resume soon. Pic: Vaishnavi Vittal

Dr Sudheer Pai, one of the petitioners in the case and Secretary of the Krishna Apartments Owners’ Welfare Association, says that they will now go to the Supreme Court. “The law is with us and rules with us. If we don’t act now, all parks will disappear. Then we will have to build a park memorial”, he says, hiding what has probably have been a disappointing verdict for them.

The RWA had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the High Court saying that the state government is violating the Karnataka Government Parks (Preservation) Act, 1975. The petitioner’s central contention was based on the Act’s Section 4(2) which bars the government from giving away land (legally termed ‘alienation’) in parks through sale, lease, gift, exchange, and mortage.

As per this Act, the petition states that the horticulture/agriculture department cannot alienate any land which they have done by handing over the park to the Home department, for constructing the war memorial.

However, the High Court verdict did not mention anything about this ‘alienation’.

The PIL also contended that the agriculture/horticulture department "has a duty to maintain park and duty not to fell any trees" and having allowed the National Military Memorial Committee "to carry out a project that would involve felling of trees and putting up structures", had failed in its duty.

The petition also stated that under the same Act no structure, measuring 1000 sq metres or above can be put up in the park.

To this, the High Court order states that the structure will not cause any harm and is only in the interest of the general public. Neither did the verdict mention anything about the trees to be felled for the project.

Memorial committee asks for residents’ support after verdict

But the verdict clearly comes as huge relief for those on the other side of the fence. Member of the National Military Memorial Trust, Air Cmde M K Chandrashekar says he welcomes the verdict. “It is what is needed in the country – a certain amount of commitment towards martyrs and their families. I am satisfied after all the efforts we have put in”, he says.

The proposed war memorial will be built at the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park in Vasanthnagar. Pic: Vaishnavi Vittal

In a press release, Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who is also the Chairman of the National Military Memorial Committee, says, “The judgement by the High Court reaffirms the commitment to honoring the sacrifices and lives of the hundreds of service men from our state”.

He appealed to residents in the park area to share the feelings and emotions of thousands of Bengalureans and extend their support the Military Memorial initiative. He also said that the memorial will be ready to be dedicated to the martyrs and their families by Vijay Diwas.

The war memorial will be constructed at a cost of Rs 12 crore. It will include a museum, memorial pathway, amphitheatre and display areas for three armed forces.   

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About Vaishnavi Vittal 139 Articles
Vaishnavi Vittal is a Bangalore-based journalist.

5 Comments

  1. I don’t know, why people start giving suggestions without getting into facts. Indian Army take care of families who lost their life this great nation and people, especially civilians who doesn’t know how army operates and their ethos should shut-up.
    This is the tragedy of this nation, on the name of freedom people become eccentric and oppose even things which are supreme.
    Today supreme court slapped on the face of people who were opposing this great monument for their vested interests.
    Now for future they should learn some lesson and shut their mouth.

  2. As has been written in these columns earlier, the present Govt and BBMP are totslly blind towards any wise advice from the public. I think these people are not educated at all and / or do not possess any common sense and logic in taking decisions that damages the lives of the public. Everytime a minister gives a statement in the Press, they shed only crocodile tears . If they keep quiet, Bangalore would be saved from total destruction in the coming years. The tax payers money is squandered mindlessly on the Ruling Party’s escapades and jaunts.Trees are cut recklessly and breathing space totally damaged by constructing useless memorials. The money could have been spent usefully by rehabilitating all those families of martyrs who are still struggling to earn their livelihood after loosing their dear Heads of families in the noble cause of our motherland. The brave jawans could be given better living conditions and proper ammunition to fight our enemies at our frontiers. It is absurd to think that a Chief Minister gives a statement that after 20 years People will think of him and praise for having undertaken futuristic projects to make Bangalore worth living.
    Will there be a Bangalore be existent in our Maps at that time ? What else we can expect from a politician who can refurnish his house at Govt Expense at a huge cost and with tax payers money.
    Even God cannot save this country. Look what happened to the extremely honest and sincere Justice Hegde ? I would like to ask the CM to show to the Public how he had met 70% of Justice Hegde’s demands for ending corruption in the State.

  3. Presumably a deliberate and a conscious decision would have taken by the concerned authorities when DRDO laboratories were shifted to CV Raman Nagar and this place was designated as The Indira Gandhi Park.

    The considered views of B K Chandrasekhar, (former minister and former Prof IIM-B), as to why the memorial should not be located inside the Indira Gandhi Park and Musical fountain, are a  very rational analysis of the issue.

    Look at the number of full grown trees which have been mercilessly felled on all roads all over Bangalore under the garb of widening roads and other developmental works. Are these not sufficient mutilation of ecology and environment?

    The powers that be should leave the Indira Gandhi Park and Musical fountain area as park and lung space and instead locate the war memorial, without controversy, in an open space in Bangalore and develop a park around it.   ⊕

  4. This should go to the Supreme Court and by the time these soporific luminaries decide on a judgment, Bangalore would have long forgotten this memorial scam.

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