Restore land for beggars' rehab: HC

BDAs plan to develop it into a development project stalled

The Karnataka High Court on Monday scuttled the BDA’s plan to develop the Karnataka Rehabilitation Centre (Beggars’ Colony) land into an “upmarket” residential-cum-commercial space.

A file photo of the inmates at the Karnataka Rehabilitation Centre.

The court directed the State government to restore the 123 acres on Magadi Road at Sumanahalli for its original purpose of rehabilitating destitutes.

Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Rashtrothan Sankalp Trust, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna directed the government to restore the land for its original purpose in the next four weeks and submit a report to the court.

The judgment comes in the light of the State government’s dilly-dallying over the proposal to voluntarily withdraw the land acquisition from the BDA for the development plans. Earlier, the government had submitted an in-principle approval to cancel the land allotment to the BDA in the court.

In its petition, the trust asked the High Court for an interim relief to ensure that the BDA, the State government and its various departments apart from the Central Relief Committee do “not alienate, dispose of or create third party rights in respect of any immovable property, including land and buildings on which the Beggary Relief Centre is situated.”

The High Court also directed the State to submit a copy of the report of a survey on the beggar population conducted across 27 Assembly segments of Bangalore. The survey conducted in the last few months puts the number of beggars in the area at 11,000.

Further, digital photographs and other proof of beggars have been captured in the survey. It is expected to provide a realistic estimate of the beggar population and will indicate measures that would have to be taken up to provide rehabilitation measures.

The petitioners had cited the July 2010 Government Order which was passed to transfer the 123 acres to the BDA.

They had contended that such a move would completely defeat the very purpose of land acquisition as the sole objective in the first place for acquiring the Sumanahalli land was for the rehabilitation of the beggars. The petition said the public money spent towards construction in 2008 would go completely waste. 

Also, the beggars did not have adequate infrastructure as it is. Doing away with the existing infrastructure would lead to complete chaos. The case has been adjourned.

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