Govt wants to monitor mutts in dispute

Bill tabled in the Assembly proposes to take over mutts in the event of any dispute over succession

The State government on Saturday introduced a bill in the Assembly, which seeks to take over Mutts in the event of any dispute over succession or if the head of a mutt is a minor or in the absence of a successor.

The Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) bill, states: “The Government may take possession and management of any math, when the Mathadipathi voluntarily applies for such take over, the Mathadipathi is a minor without a duly appointed guardian or is by reason of physical or mental infirmity unable to manage the affairs of the math, the Mathadipathi expires and there is no successor duly appointed according to law or custom applicable to the succession to the office or there is a dispute regarding the right of succession to such office of the Mathadipathi.

The bill, piloted by Law Minister T B Jayachandra, specifies that in case the commissioner of the Muzrai Department believes that there had been a mismanagement in the affairs of  a mutt, he can suo motu take over the mutt by issuing a public notice, call upon the head of the mutt or manager and all other persons having interest to show cause as to why the mutt shall not be taken over by the government. The government has stated that it has proposed these amendments as informed to the Supreme Court to bring the mutts under the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act,1997.

The government also tabled the Karnataka Lakes Conservation and Development Authority Bill 2014, in the Assembly, which seeks to constitute a separate authority  - Lake Conservation and Development Authority - for protection and conservation of lakes in urban areas, including Bengaluru. The proposed body will replace the Karnataka Lake Development Authority.

The bill, piloted by the Law Minister, covers all lakes coming under limits of municipalities and corporations. The proposed legislation seeks to give more powers to the Authority to conserve the lakes and tanks in urban areas. The Authority can impose penalties. The bill proposes imprisonment for not less than three years but which may extend to five years, to encroachers. A fine of not less than Rs 10,000 and up to Rs 20,000, will also be levied on the guilty.

The bill gives powers to the local police officer or designated officer or empowered officer to arrest any person without a warrant if he or she is “reasonably suspected of having committed the offence under the said Act.” The legislation considers the offences under the KLCDA bill as a cognizable offence, wherein the accused can be released on the furnishing of a bond before a magistrate court. The Legislative Council approved three amendment bills amid protest by opposition BJP.

The bills are: The Karnataka Stamp (Second Amendment) Bill, 2014, the Karnataka State Law University (Amendment) Bill 2014 and the Karnataka Preservation of Trees (Amendment) Bill, 2014.

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