Two days after the State government announcing the implementation of Akrama Sakrama scheme, there are all indications the issue will yet again face legal hurdles. Mangaluru-based Citizens Forum for Mangalore Development has already filed a fresh petition in the High Court of Karnataka questioning the implementation of Akrama Sakrama. Bengaluru-based Citizens Action Forum too has decided to file a separate petition.
Vidya Dinker, Convener of Citizens Forum for Mangalore Development, who is the main petitioner in the case dismissed on February 3rd, 2014, has confirmed that she has filed a fresh petition in the court challenging the new Akrama Sakrama rules. “Our organisation is against the regularisation of unauthorised buildings at any cost. More so because the rule does not mention about imposing penal action against the erring officials who let the violations happen,” she said.
Another petitioner, Vijayan Menon from Bengaluru-based Citizen Action Forum (CAF) too said that they would file a fresh petition soon. “Our major contention is that the Rule does not even consider sentiments of the neighbourhood of the building byelaw violators. How will their problem be addressed?” he asked.
State ready to tackle cases, with caveats in all HC benches
Predicting the civic groups filing fresh petition, the government filed caveat in all three benches of the Karnataka High Court, namely, Bengaluru, Dharwad and Gulbarga. Caveat is a legal notice to a court or public officer to suspend a certain proceeding until the notifier is given a hearing, the notifier in this case being the State government. This means that without hearing the version of the State government, the High Court cannot accord a stay on Akrama Sakrama implementation.
Earlier on February 3rd, 2015, the Karnataka High Court had dismissed the old batch of 13 petitions related to Akrama Sakrama amendment done in 2007, saying they have become ‘infructuous’ due to the amended rule of 2014.
The High Court however reserved the right of the petitioners to challenge the new Akrama Sakrama rules, also called as Karnataka Town and Country Planning (Regularisation of Unauthorised Development of Constructions), Rules, 2014.
This was because the State government quashed the old rules published in 2007 and published final notification of the new rules on May 28th 2014. As soon as the court order cleared the path of the government to implement Akrama Sakrama, the State government began its preparations to implement the scheme.
On March 3rd, 2015, Urban Development Minister Vinay Kumar Sorake announced the implementation of Akrama Sakrama scheme and gave the details of the procedure. According to a notification dated February 27th, 2015, applications for regularisation will be received from the public from March 23rd 2015 to March 22nd 2016. The buildings built before October 19th 2013 in 213 urban local bodies in Karnataka, including Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), that have have violated bylaws or land use, are eligible to be regularised in this scheme.
Now, as expected, the civic groups who have fought in court regarding the issue have moved for yet another legal battle. With this, those who wish to regularise the deviations may have to wait for some more time.