Chikkamagaluru land row before SC

Huge tracts of land measuring about 16,000 acre in Chikkamagaluru District have become a subject matter of legal battle before the Supreme Court following the decision to declare those as forest land.

A bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice A K Sikri decided to examine the plea made by the occupants, claiming those to be inam (private) land of Kalaseshwara Swamy Temple of Kalsa.

The court asked senior advocate Basava Prabhu Patil, representing Abdul Rahman and others, to submit details about the current market price of those land within one week.

According to the petition filed by advocate Nishanth Patil, the land spread over Devarabetta, Karimane Kalgod, Mavinakere Talagode, Thotadur and Balagi in Karnataka, is 'inam' land of Kalaseshwara Swamy Temple of Kalasa, Mudigere Taluk, Chikkamagaluru district, Karnataka.

The petitioners challenged the Karnataka High Court order passed in 2012 in a PIL and other matters wherein the land was declared as a forest land protected under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, making the grants in favour of petitioners as illegal. The petitioners claimed to be rightful occupants being age-old cultivators of land.

The High Court erroneously interpreted and relied upon a notification of March 06, 1928 issued by Maharaja of Mysore (government) to hold that the subject matter is a forest land. The petitioners claimed the Maharaja had issued subsequent notification on February 13,1933 allowing for continuation of rights and privileges to existing villagers and also permitted to issue mafipass and grant of lands in the inam lands of temple.

“The state government having (once) classified the land as inam land belonging to Shri Kalaseshwara Swamy Deity and having granted occupancy rights in respect of such land upon the petitioners and other occupants of the land is estopped from contending otherwise,” they said.

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