Friday, September 30, 2005

Court pulls up Bangalorean over petition

Court pulls up Bangalorean over petition

The Hindu

It found that he had filed a petition against a BMP project without verifying facts

# The project involved construction of a commercial complex with a multi-storey car park
# It was in public interest, says court
# Costs of Rs. 25,000 imposed on petitioner

BANGALORE: The High Court of Karnataka has pulled up a petitioner for filing a public interest litigation (PIL) without verifying facts and imposed costs of Rs. 25,000 on him.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Nauvdip Kumar Sodhi and Justice N. Kumar, dismissed the PIL by B.H. Veeresh and directed him to deposit Rs. 25,000 with the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) in four weeks. If he fails to do so, the authority could initiate action to secure the amount, it said.

A resident of Bangalore, Mr. Veeresh had filed the PIL seeking an order for the annulment of a contract awarded by the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) to a private company for remodelling the BMP Central Stores and Depot on Magarath Road into a multi-storeyed car park and commercial complex.

The Bench said the project was taken up as a joint venture. But the primary grievance of the petitioner was that the contract had been awarded by the BMP for a throwaway price and it was signed in a clandestine manner.

It said that when the petitioner was shown photocopies of advertisements in newspapers calling for tenders for the project, he had disputed their veracity. The Bench said it had adjourned the hearing to enable the BMP to produce the original copies of newspapers which featured the advertisement.

It said the petitioner had now admitted that the tenders had been invited. He had tendered a written apology for making a wrong averment. The Bench said the petitioner "was a busybody and was not interested in perusing any genuine public case."

It said the site on which the complex had come up was earlier being used as a godown. It fetched no income for the BMP. The BMP had decided to construct a multi-storey car park as there was a severe shortage of parking space. The petitioner had filed the PIL after the project had been completed.

The Bench said the BMP had not invested any money, and it would receive a rent of Rs. 3.75 crores a year. This was expected to go up in the coming years. In addition, the BMP would receive Rs. 85 lakhs as property tax every year. Of the 1,000 slots earmarked for parking cars, the BMP would have control over 752 slots. There are also 100 traders in the complex, who would have to obtain and renew trade licences.


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