Plea in HC against demolishing Janatha Bazaar

Bengalureans have come forward to protect the 83-year-old Asiatic Building housing the Janatha Bazaar on KG Road. DH FILE PHOTO

Bengalureans have come together to protect another heritage building in the city.

The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage has moved the high court seeking directions to protect the 83-year-old Asiatic Building housing the Janatha Bazaar on KG Road from being demolished. 

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari on Monday directed the state government to submit its response in two weeks in this regard.

The petition has sought directions to declare the building a heritage structure under the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act (KTCP). 

The nonprofit organisation moved the court on the day when the erstwhile Yuvaraja of Mysore Kanteerava Narasimharaja Wadiyar inaugurated the
historic building on September 11, 1935.

It contended that the tenancy agreement between the Karnataka Public Works Ports and Inland Water Transport Department (Karnataka PWD) and the occupants of the Asiatic building expired in 2014 and had not been renewed. 

But the public works department asked the occupants to vacate the building and issued eviction
notices. 

In the notices, the chief engineer, (C&B) South, PWD, proposed a 14-floor commercial complex and multi-storied parking complex on the location of the Asiatic Building.

The PWD issued a sanction order on December 27, 2016, for the demolition of the building.

 Following this, the petitioner made representations to the state government seeking to protect the building. 

The petitioner stated that the Bangalore Development Authority classified the Asiatic Building a heritage building in the Revised Master Plan (RMP) 2031. So, the petitioner contended that the building was a heritage building which should be protected. 

The sanction order to demolish the building is against the provision of the KTCP Act, it said. 

The petitioner added that the demolition order was issued in the exercise of executive power whereas the RMP 2031 has been issued in exercise of statutory power by the planning authority. Here the statutory of power should take precedence over the executive power.

The court adjourned the hearing for two weeks.

Heritage Beku, a city-based movement started by a group of eminent citizens from all walks of life working to protect the history that makes Bangalore unique, has supported the cause. 

The group comprises conservation experts, policy researchers, lawyers, environmental activists, corporate players, artists, journalists and architects.

  • Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage
  • Asiatic Building
  • High Court