Suggest new arbitrator, HC tells Wakf Board

The High Court on Wednesday directed the Karnataka State Board of Wakfs and the ITC Windsor Manor to suggest a new arbitrator to resolve the row over eviction proceedings against the hotel.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Sreedhar Rao and Justice Suri Appa Rao directed both the parties to decide and suggest a new name as arbitrator, as the proceedings were pending after the former judge of Supreme Court Shivaraj Patil refused to continue as an arbitrator.

Patil was appointed the arbitrator by the Division Bench headed by the then Chief Justice J S Khehar. 

However, the former judge returned the file after he was appointed the Lokayukta. After he resigned from the post, he was again appointed the mediator through an order dated December 8, 2011. 

But he refused to continue and the arbitration has been pending since then. When the hotel sought to know how much rent it should pay the board, the Bench suggested that the hotel pay the existing ground rent per day, as is being done at the Palace Grounds.

The High Court had directed the authorities under the Public Premises Act to continue with the eviction proceedings initiated by the Wakf Board against ITC Windsor Manor located on their property, in three months. The court had ordered the hotel to pay Rs 6 lakh a month till the eviction process was completed. 

The Wakf property was leased out to the hotel for 99 years and the latter claimed the lease deed was valid till 2063.

Background

ITC Windsor had moved the High Court following an order dated August 12, 2002, by the competent authority under the Karnataka Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1974. 

The hotel also challenged the eviction proceedings initiated against it by the chief executive officer of the Karnataka State Board of Wakfs.

The hotel also challenged the Constitutional validity of Section 2(e) (v) of the 1974 Act as substituted by the Karnataka Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupation) Act, 1999.

‘Clear encroachment’

The High Court, on Wednesday,  warned the authorities of Suryanarayana temple of demolishing the place of worship if they fail to clear the way to provide road connectivity for three private layouts in Domlur.

The Defence Ministry had moved the court seeking contempt action against the BBMP for not constructing roads providing road connectivity to private layouts. 

It had contended in its plea that despite the court’s direction to construct roads within a year, the Palike had failed to act on it.

However, owing to security reasons residents of the layouts will not be permitted to use the land of Para Regiment in Domlur. The court had directed to allow residents to use the land at the Para Regiment only until the new road was constructed, said the Defence Ministry in its petition. 

In its submission the BBMP has stated that it is unable to complete the construction of the road, as the authorities of Suryanarayana temple have refused to part with the land.

Also, the Palike stated that the temple had encroached upon the BBMP land and that when it tried to clear the encroachment the temple authorities obtained an injunction.

However, the temple authorities have blamed the Defence Ministry for the mess.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna directed the temple authorities to clear the encroachment within a week, failing which the Court will order for demolition of the temple.

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