The controversial elevated corridor project in Bengaluru for which the Karnataka Road Development Corporation Limited had hurriedly floated tenders, has been halted in its tracks by the Karnataka High Court.
A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Narayana Swamy and Justice Dinesh Kumar on Wednesday asked the state government not to proceed further in the matter until a case on the functioning of the Bangalore Metropolitan Committee is disposed of. The next date of hearing has been fixed on March 19.
The case pertains to the functioning of the Metropolitan Planning Committee — the constitutionally mandated body for the city’s planning purpose, filed by Namma Bengaluru Foundation and Citizen’s Action Forum.
According to the 74th Constitutional Amendment, all town planning activities have to be done by the Metropolitan Planning Committee, of which two-thirds of the members have to be elected corporators.
“The High Court today has passed an order which has effectively meant a stay. The HC has said any other large-scale projects including the elevated corridor project and those being undertaken cannot be proceeded further with until this case is disposed of,” Mukunda NS of Citizen Action Forum— one of the petitioners in the case, told TNM.
“Our petition was that the government is not serious in implementing the Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) as per the 74th Amendment. The MPC actually should be the body which should be entrusted with development with Bengaluru and since it is not doing it, it needs a direction from the court to establish that all projects can be routed through that body only. The court had given the government time to file their counter day before yesterday but the government advocate did not turn up. That is when the court got angry and gave a direction to the government advocate to file his objection within two weeks,” he added.
In the same case, then Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Krishna S Dixit in June 2018 had set aside the possibility of formation of a parallel expert group like that of the Bengaluru Blueprint Action Group (BBAG) for the city’s future planning.
"Let the statutory bodies work. Creating parallel body is undesirable, unwarranted and absolutely uncalled for, as such bodies will only add to the confusion," the division bench had said.