HC to hear request for business in residential building

HC orders fresh hearing into request for business activity in residential building

Karnataka High Court. Credit: DH File Photo

The high court has ordered the BBMP chief commissioner to conduct a fresh hearing into a property owner's request for certain commercial activities in a residential building. 

The quasi-judicial powers of an officer cannot be delegated or bartered away contrary to duties and obligations imposed upon them in terms of the statute, the court held. 

On March 16, 2019, the BBMP had denied permission for activities like data entry operations, data research in software, and financial consultancy services to be run from the said property.

It cited a government notification issued on March 20, 2015, under zoning regulations in the Revised Master Plan, 2015. 

The BBMP's order was also based on an inspection report filed by the local health inspector, and a hearing conducted by the head of its legal cell. 

The owner challenged this in the high court, pointing out that the premises isn't being used for commercial purposes and has been let out for tenants who are carrying out the activities. 

During the hearing, the counsel for the BBMP stated that under section 66 of the Karnataka Municipalities Act, the BBMP commissioner can delegate his powers. The court, however, disagreed. 

Justice M Nagaprasanna said the order violated the rudimentary principle of "he who decides must hear".

The court said the power to adjudicate the rights of the parties was a quasi-judicial proceeding and therefore such power would have to be exercised only by the officer who was empowered to exercise and not by any other authority. 

"Section 66 of the KMC Act, in my considered view, can only be a delegation of his ordinary powers, duties, and functions and not delegating quasi-judicial powers. Quasi-judicial powers cannot be bartered away contrary to duties and obligations imposed upon the commissioner in terms of the statute,” the court said and ordered the BBMP chief commissioner to hear the property owner afresh. 

Check out DH's latest videos: