Tuesday, June 29, 2010

War memorial must stick to law

War memorial must stick to law

SC gives the state govt one month time to file its response to the petition challenging construction

Rakesh Bhatnagar



The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Karnataka government on a petition challenging the construction of the National Military Memorial at the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain park in the heart of the city. The government would have to file its reply in a month.
The Memorial, to be located within the park in close proximity to the Raj Bhavan, would spread over a 6.22-acre plot. The current market value of land is at least Rs500 crore.
The state government claims that the structure would be a memorial to nearly 1,500 war heroes from the state who sacrificed their lives for the country. It also claims that the proposed structure would be constructed underground, and thus not destroy foliage.
A bench of justices RM Lodha and AK Patnaik refused to order status quo in the case, but pointed out that any construction ought to be "in conformity with statutory requirements".
The Krishna Apartment Owners' Welfare Association filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against an order of the Karnataka high court, which gave its approval to the project on Friday last. The appeal stated that the state government had proceeded with the construction in violation of the Karnataka Government Parks (Preservation) Act, 1975, which does not allow building, construction or change in use of land in government parks; the petitioners said that this very Act was invoked by the state government.
The lawyer for Karnataka, L Nageshwar Rao, said that there would be no transfer of land in this case, as the land would remain with the state government; besides, there was no violation of the Karnataka Government Parks (Preservation) Act, 1975.

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