Reflects Mindset Of East India Company Era’: Karnataka High Court Pulls Up BDA For Denying TDR Certificates To Landowners

The Karnataka High Court has while quashing an order passed by the Bangalore Development Authority denying TDR Certificates (Transfer of Development RRights) as promised to land owners while acquiring their lands for public purpose, observed, “A bare perusal of the impugned order gives an impression that it is texted with the mindset of a Draftsman of East India Company of the bygone era and not by the one whose heart is at the right place.” A single judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit allowed the petitions filed by Jayamma & Others And State of Karnataka & others and quashed the order dated 17.03.2022.


Petitioners – the poor allotees of Hakku Patraas of small bits of land which they have given up on the assurance of being granted ‘Transferable Development Rights’ (hereafter TDR) are knocking at the doors of Writ Court for assailing the order dated 17.03.2022 issued by the Respondent – BDA whereby, the recommendation of the Respondent – BBMP for issuing the TDR Certificates to them has been negatived. Learned Sr. Advocate appearing for the petitioners insists that in view of the chequered history, this case should be taken up for hearing on a priority basis sine it involves the interest of poor persons. There were 180 persons including the Petitioners herein who had admittedly been in the long & continuous occupation of land in Sy.No.40 of Marenahalli village. The said land was acquired/utilized by the Government for the public purpose, i.e., formation of roads, drainage, etc. The BBMP Commissioner vide endorsement dated 03.07.1976 had directed their shifting to the lands in Sy.Nos.17 & 18 of the same village. In terms of the said endorsement, the Deputy Revenue Officer of BBMP vide letter dated 09.07.1976 (Annexure-B) asked these occupants to take possession of their sites at the rate of Rs.2 per square yard. Relevant portion of said endorsement reads as under: “…You are hereby informed that the Commissioner is pleased to allot the site No…… measuring 30-‘0’ x 40-‘0’/25’0’ x 40-‘0’ at Sy. No. 17 & 18 of Marenahalli village, Uttarahalli Hobli, Bangalore South Taluk…at the rate of Rs. 2/- per square yard… ” The endorsement provided for the rehabilitation of these dispossessed occupants. These lands were notified for acquisition vide Final Notification No.HMA-19-MNJ-70 dated 27.5.1970 published in Karnataka gazette dated 23.7.1970 under section 18(1)(a) of the City Improvement Act, 1945 for the formation of Sarakki layout. However, land in Sy.No.18 was dropped from acquisition vide Notification dated 07.06.1996 issued u/s 48(1) of the erstwhile Land Acquisition Act, 1894. The above came to be followed by another letter dated 31.07.1976 (Annexure-C) addressed to the Secretary of Petitioners Association informing that the sites have been provisionally allotted. Relevant portion of the said letter reads as under: “Sub:- Allotment of site at Maranahalli Tank Bed, Jayanagar. With reference to the above subject, I write to state that the site measuring 30-‘0’ x 40-‘0’ is provisionally allotted to you. The spot will be shown to you by the Assistant Engineer No. 1 Sub – Division. (Project)…” Accordingly, Hakku Patraas came to be issued by the Block Development Officer during the period 29.12.1979 and 08.02.1980. Despite all this, the Petitioners were not given actual possession of the sites in question, though the upset price was paid by them at the prescribed rate. In fact, the jurisdictional Panchayat had also collected the property tax from the allottees. (c) The jurisdictional Asst. Revenue Officer of the BBMP vide endorsement dated 29.11.1985 (Annexure-H) had directed all the allottees to produce the original Hakku Patraas/Svadinapatra for authentication, so that they can be granted the khata in their names. Relevant portion of the said endorsement reads as under: “…With reference to their application dated 1-8-79 requesting for registering sites in their names the applicants, whose names are noted below are hereby informed to produce Hakkupathra/Saadinapatra issued by Block Development Officer to get katha in their names within seven days from the date of this endorsement…” Though Petitioners abided by this, nothing turned out. Therefore, the registered Association of the Petitioners vide representation made their grievance before the jurisdictional officer of the BBMP & BDA and requested for the grant of TDR certificates so that they can make use of the same by way of compensation. The BDA Commissioner vide letter dated 10.12.2018 (Annexure-M) informed the BBMP Commissioner to take the decision as to TDR claim at its own level and inform him the action taken in this regard.


It said “The subject land has been utilised for some other public purpose such as formation & widening of main road, housing layout of KEB Employees, etc. In fact, that was the reason, the petitioners were promised off TDR facility as a viable alternative.”

Following which it remarked “The conduct of the respondents in now turning around and denying the TDR certificates is liable to be met with by the doctrine of promissory estoppel.”

Considering the long drawn legal proceedings in the matter, the bench refused to remit the matter back to the authorities, it said “It is the poor and hapless petitioners who are complaining before the Constitutional Courts in the third round of litigation, which has a chequered history. Our Constitution which has ushered in a Welfare State ordains that Government & its authorities shall conduct themselves fairly, justly & reasonably while treating the grievance of the citizens who are unable to fend for themselves. Our Constitution having Government & its authorities shall conduct themselves fairly, justly & reasonably while treating the grievance of the citizens who are unable to fend for themselves. Our Constitution having been founded on human values, the State and its authorities should adopt a humane approach to the problems of those in need of socio-economic aid”

Finally it said “The Petitioners had a rough deal at the hands of both the BDA & the BBMP, whose conduct does not generate confidence in the mind of the Court that they would ever grant relief to the deserving litigants, on their own. Repeated remand is not desirable in matters involving grievances of the poor & disadvantaged Remitting the matter of the kind back to the portals of the authorities, by quoting some theories of law would not do real justice to the deserving litigants that hail from ‘have-not’ segment of the society.”





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