Tuesday, June 29, 2010

War memorial: SC refuses stay

War memorial: SC refuses stay
S.S. NEGI
DC | NEW DELHI


Article Rank




The Supreme June 28: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to stay the Karnataka government’s initiative to build a memorial in the name of 1971 Bangladesh war heroes inside the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park in Bengaluru but agreed to examine the matter and issued notice to the state.
Some resident welfare associations of the colonies surrounding the park mov

ed the Supreme Court challenging the state’s decision to earmark six acres of land in the 17-acre park for building an underground “war memorial” to be maintained by a trust under the chairmanship of the CM. The petitioners alleged the memorial was a “brain-child” of MP Rajiv Chandrashekhar.
The vacation bench issued a notice to the state government asking it to submit an affidavit with details within four weeks.

four weeks. The Supreme Court on Monday declined to stay the Karnataka government’s initiative to build a memorial for the 1971 Bangladesh war heroes at the Indira Gandhi Musical Foundation Park in Bengaluru but agreed to examine the matter and issued notice to the state.
Some resident welfare associations of colonies surrounding the park had moved the apex court challenging the state government’s decision to earmark nearly six acres of land in the 17-acre park for building an underground ‘war memorial.’ The memorial was to be maintained by a trust chaired by Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa with high ranking officers from the Army as its members.

The petitioners alleged that the memorial was in fact a ‘brain child’ of MP, Rajiv Chandrashekhar and was ‘condoned and supported’ by the Chief Minister. Led by Krishna Apartment Owners Welfare Association

(KAOWA), the petitioners sought a stay on the entire process, including construction activity.
However, a vacation bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and A.K. Patnaik, while refusing to grant an interim stay, issued notices to the government asking it to submit an affidavit with full details of

the project within four weeks.
The KAOWA and other petitioners, who moved the apex court after the Karnataka High Court rejected their plea, cited provisions of the Karnataka Government Parks (Preservation) Act, 1975 while seeking judicial intervention. Their counsel argued that under the Act, the land of any protected park could not be alienated, mortgaged or leased, nor could a licence be given to build any structure, even by government departments.

Appearing for the Karnataka government, senior advocate L. Nageshwar Rao and Anita Shenoy submitted that

the memorial, which would only cover 10,000 sq feet, would be an underground construction and would not change the surface landscape. “In 2008, a committee was set under the chairmanship of the CM with Army officers as members to look into the war memorial issue and ensure that the land is not alienated,” Mr Rao said, adding the park would continue to be maintained by the state’s horticulture department.
After hearing the arguments, the judges said the court would examine the matter on the basis of “simple questions, like whether the construction of the memorial building is permissible under the law and whether it permissible without change in land use. For this, the court needed a detailed reply from the state government, the bench observed.

The petitioners alleged that “any construction in the park would directly harm the interests of the public and residents in particular as it acts as lungs for the city.”

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