An interlocutory application (IA) has been filed in the High Court by a private law firm stating that the land on which Bangalore Club is located does not belong either to the State government or the Club. But is the property of the defence and it was once a civil and military station.
City-based M G Kumar Law Firm filed IA after the Bangalore Club petitioned the High court challenging the assistant commissioner’s (Bengaluru North) order.
The applicants contended that the property was purchased by the General Committee of Bangalore United Services Club constituted for the British Military regiment, under a registered sale deed, dated August 30, 1873. The place was fully owned by the British Officers club and no Indian civilian had any right or interest in the club or the property. The IA states that after the British left India in 1947, the entire property and the club stood vested with the defence establishment.
The applicants submitted, “Surprisingly, a few elite civilians of the Bengaluru have formed a group and have managed to usurp and unlawfully squat on the said defence property. The civilian group has renamed the place as Bangalore Club and are commercially exploiting Rs 3,000 crores worth defence property free of cost, without any right, title or interest. There has been no grant, assignment, lease, licence, gift, transfer or conveyance of any kind in favour of any third party or the petitioners/civilians, more so, the alleged group of Bangalore Club.”
The IA further states, “The contention of the Bangalore Club, that after the British left, the civilian component thereof continued the club is false and baseless. Further, the IA stated that the British never assigned any right or privilege to the Indian civilians to occupy the land. It states that the Bangalore Club has taken advantage during the transition period of Independence and somehow managed to keep the Directorate of Defence Estate of India in dark and has camouflaged the title over a period of time.”
The IA contended that the Public Accounts Committee's 89th report of the Defence Estate Management, Ministry of Defence 2013-14, has serious concern about the defence properties being usurped by civilian squatters across India, including Bengaluru, for parks and clubs.
There has been no proper notice served on the defence establishment by the State government and that the defence estate officer has contributed to the lapses and is unaware of the defence interest and ownership of the property.
The Assistant Commissioner, in his order dated July 20, 2015, directed the Club to hand over the possession of the land to Revenue authorities as the Club had failed to furnish the records of ownership of the land.
The Bangalore Club had moved High Court challenging the AC’s order.