Govt now seeks new site for HC annexe

Mark Cubbon statue on High Court premises in Bengaluru. DH Photo/S K Dinesh

The government is looking for an alternative site for the Karnataka High Court’s annexe building after its decision to demolish the KGID building attracted a barrage of criticism. 

Sources in the government said the high court authorities were not happy with the fact that the court’s name was dragged into the controversy unnecessarily. “The registrar general (of the high court) has written to the Chief Secretary on the issue. They were not happy that the high court was dragged into the issue,” he said.

In October, the court allowed a petition by the registrar general in a 2014 case for construction of the annexe by demolishing the old building of election commissioner’s office. 

“The court’s intervention was key to saving the 17 trees, which had to be cut according to the PWD’s original plan. However, a wrong impression was given to the public as if the court itself had selected the site and allowed demolition of an old building, considered a heritage structure,” the source said.

The high court registrar general has now left it to the government to come up with an alternative site measuring about 2.7 acres to house the annexe.

“The registrar’s condition is that the site should be in the vicinity of the high court and should not violate any zonal regulations or bylaws,” the source said.

Chief Secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar confirmed the development.

“We have received a letter. They (the high court) have also sought additional space in the Indhana Bhavan (near the race course). A file is being put up,” he said.

The source said the court authorities had earlier rejected a site proposed by the state government citing “long distance of about one km”.

“The condition in the latest letter that the site should be in the vicinity of the high court building is difficult to meet. The entire area surrounding the court building is a green zone. An amicable solution may be arrived at during a joint meeting,” he added.

Meanwhile, a public interest litigation against the proposed construction of seven-storeyed annexe building in Cubbon Park is likely to come up for further hearing on Thursday.

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