SC dismisses contempt plea by Nice against K'taka govt

The Supreme Court. DH file photo

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed contempt petitions filed by Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (Nice) Ltd against Karnataka government officers on constructing the Bengaluru-Mysuru Infrastructure Corridor project on over 20,000 acres of land.

The top court said the parties were in dispute with regard to framework agreement of April 3, 1997, for constructing the project, which cannot be termed as “wilful disobedience” of its judgement of April 20, 2006.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose heard arguments from senior advocates Neeraj Kishan Kaul, appearing for Nice, and Chander Uday Singh, for the state government, and concluded that there was no ground to allow the contempt petitions.

The court noted that a batch of writ petitions was already pending before the Karnataka High Court with regard to terms and clauses of the framework agreement on implementation of the ambitious project to de-congest Bengaluru city by establishing expressways, peripheral roads and townships.

During the hearing, Singh contended that the work on the project was still incomplete as the company was concentrating on Bengaluru part only. They wanted to build residential complexes on peripheral road, he said, adding the concretisation of road was not done.

“On each of the issues, there was a litigation before the high court. The peripheral and link roads have been developed fully, they are charging toll as well. The expressway has been built only to the extent five km. Five townships have to be created by them only after completion of expressway,” he said.

“They are not giving demarcation as to how lands were used. It can't be a subject matter of contempt, certain steps they were to take and certain by us,” he submitted.

Kaul, for his part, said the project was mooted in April, 1997, and the court has passed scathing comments against the state government. “A particular person was at the helm, who opposed the project. PILs were filed at the instance of the state government to stall it. Every time, they came up with a new story,” he said, adding the state government did not provide the requisite land.

The government submitted a written note indicating disagreements on a number of key issues including return of excess land, grant of planning permission for residential developments at interchanges, road standards and execution of sale deeds in respect of lands.

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