The Karnataka HC has stayed the demolition of the 83-year-old Asiatic Building housing the Janatha Bazaar on KG Road.
A division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice L Narayana Swamy passed the interim order in response to a PIL by The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), which had moved the court seeking directions to protect the building.
The court also issued notices to the state government, Karnataka PWD, the BBMP and the BDA in this regard.
INTACH has also sought directions to declare the building a heritage structure under the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act (KTCP).
The petitioner has contended that the tenancy agreement between the Karnataka Public Works Ports and Inland Water Transport Department (Karnataka PWD) and the occupants of the building expired in 2014 and had not been renewed. But the PWD asked the occupants to vacate the building and issued eviction notice.
In the notice, the chief engineer (C&B) South, PWD, proposed a 14-floor commercial and multi-storied parking complex on the location.
The Public Works Department (PWD) issued a sanction order on December 27, 2016, for the demolition of the building. Following this, the petitioner made representations to the state government, seeking to protect the building.
The petitioner has also stated that the Bengaluru Development Authority has classified Asiatic building as a heritage structure in the Revised Master Plan (RMP) 2031.
Thus the petitioner has contended that the said building is a heritage building and needs to be protected.
Furthermore, the petitioner had added that the sanction order to demolish the building is against the provision of the Karnataka Town and Country Planning (KTCP) Act.
The petitioner further added that the demolition order had been issued in exercise of executive power whereas the RMP 2031 has been issued in exercise of statutory power by the planning authority. Here the latter should take precedence over exercise of executive power.