Namma Bengaluru Foundation (NBF) on June 19, issued a letter to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, stating that the organisation has no objection to the Akrama Sakrama scheme as long as it does not benefit builders. NBF is a not-for-profit organisation in Bengaluru which had filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the scheme. â€śToday we write formally to confirm to you that our position today is the same as before and that we have no objection to the Government approaching the Supreme Court and seeking exemption for poor and middle-class families who are impacted by this stay,â€ť the letter by NBF said.
The Akrama Sakrama scheme was introduced between 2009 and 2014 (it went through many amendments) since all unauthorised buildings could not be demolished. Therefore, the state had to come up with an alternative that would regularise these buildings. Founded by the BJP union minister, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, NBF in 2017 had challenged the state governmentâ€™s decision to introduce the Akrama Sakrama scheme. Following this, the Supreme Court stayed the scheme with which defaulters could regularise unauthorised buildings. The authorisation could be done after paying a one-time penalty for deviations of up to 50% in residential buildings and up to 25% in commercial structures.
NBFâ€™s stand was that the Akrama Sakrama scheme would cause violations to recur and that builders could easily escape by paying a one-time fee. Therefore, NBF had moved the Supreme court following the High Courtâ€™s rejection of their PIL. However, in a reversal of stand, NBF now says that many people had approached them with problems relating to their homes and properties impacted by the government pausing all regularisations because of the stay of Supreme Court.
Citizen Action Forum, the group that started the legal battle against Akrama Sakrama said that NBF's stand has taken them by surprise. "CAF opposed Akrama Sakrama and we brought NBF into it. We regret that this stand was not conveyed to us," Vijayan Menon, President of CAF told TNM.
A source who has worked closely with both groups said that NBFâ€™s stand could be to make a political point, however, unless the government goes to court to remove the stay, their stand does not mean much.