Tuesday, October 27, 2009

High Court okays Metro work on Ambedkar Veedhi

High Court okays Metro work on Ambedkar Veedhi

Staff Reporter
‘Underground work may endanger buildings’
There is no acquisition of land for forming the alternative roads, says BMRCL

Lawns to be re-laid once the underground section was completed

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Monday “accorded permission” to the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation limited (BMRCL) to take up underground work of Namma Metro on Ambedker Veedhi, in front of Vidhana Soudha and adjacent buildings in Bangalore.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran and Justice Mohan Shantangouder passed the order on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition by G.R. Mohan, a Bangalore-based advocate.

Mr. Mohan had challenged the decision of BMRCL in going ahead with the project in front of Vidhana Soudha and High Court buildings without obtaining permission of the High Court.

The petitioner had pointed out that a Division Bench comprising the then Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, P.V. Reddi and Justice N.K. Patil on August 13, 2001 directed the State to obtain permission of the court before taking up any project in Cubbon Park area.

The State and BMRCL, he said, had not complied with the 2001 order and that they had so far not taken permission of the High Court. He said the underground work would entail stoppage of traffic on Ambedkar Veedhi. Two alternative roads had been proposed by BMRCL — one near the Vidhana Soudha and another near High Court. The alternative roads, he said, are designed to come up on the lawns of the Vidhana Soudha and the High Court.

The alternative roads would be operational till the underground section on Ambedkar Veedhi was completed. The State had so far not sought permission of the court though Vidhana Soudha too came under the Cubbon Park area. He apprehended that blasting by the BMRCL while taking up work on the underground section might endanger the safety of the High Court and Vidhana Soudha buildings.

Advocate-General Ashok Harnahalli submitted that the route map of BMRCL had already been approved by the State. He said the two alternative roads are temporary.

The former Advocate-General and advocate for BMRCL R.N. Narasimha Murthy said there is no acquisition of land for forming the alternative roads. The Bench, in its order, observed that, “It is a settled principle that in the matter of policy decisions, it may not be proper for this court to interfere with the decisions taken by the Executive. It is more so, in the case of public contract and which has got direct bearing on commercial transactions and which affects the economy of the State.”

It desisted from interfering with the project at this stage as any interference would not only delay the project but also suffocate its progress and cause public inconvenience. However, it referred to the 2001 judgment and said it would accord permission for the project. It said it reposed confidence in the State to take note of the suggestions of the petitioner on the safety of heritage buildings and disposed of the case.

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