SC relief to top revenue officer in site allotment case

SC relief to top revenue officer in site allotment case

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the contempt proceedings initiated against the state government’s Principal Secretary, Revenue, Rajkumar Khatri, for his alleged failure to provide an alternative site to a complainant.

A bench of Justices U U Lalit and Ashok Bhushan suspended the operation of the Karnataka high court’s order passed on August 27, and granted the officer exemption from appearance for framing of charges.

Senior advocate Basava Prabhu Patil and advocate Sanjay M Nuli, representing Khatri, assailed the high court’s order, contending that the officer had no role in the matter as he was not a party in a writ petition filed by complainant S N Narasimhamurthy, wherein the direction was issued on July 20, 2016, for allotment of an alternative site in lieu of a piece of land having been acquired by the Bangalore Development Authority.

The top court issued a notice to Narasimhamurthy and others on Khatri’s plea also contending that the BDA had offered to allot a site measuring 15 x 24m at Sir M Vishweshwaraiah Layout, but the said site was rejected by the complainant.

The petitioner also claimed that the revenue department was carrying out the mandate given in a meeting held by the chief secretary, and had sought necessary information from the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) on a proposal to transfer an extent of 10622.99 sqm of land in Chikkajala village, Jala hobli, for the purposes of compliance with the directions of the high court. The officer also pointed out the complainant had requested for lands in Chikkajala village though the said property did not vest in the hands of the BDA, and further its cost was higher than the land acquired.

Wilful disobedience

On August 27, besides Khatri, senior IAS officers; BDA commissioner Rakesh Singh; and principal secretary, Urban Development Department, Mahendra Jain have also been summoned by the high court for willful disobedience of the order and face contempt charges.