Bengaluru: The Chief Justice of Karnataka on Wednesday pulled up Bengaluru Police and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) after both refused to take responsibility for an eviction drive during which more than 100 makeshift homes were demolished.
“Was it an external force that carried out the demolitions?” asked Chief Justice of Karnataka Abhay Shreeniwas Oka, while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) that was filed against the demolition of over 100 ‘kutcha’ houses that left hundreds of people homeless in the Kariyammana Agrahara area on January 18.
Both the police and BBMP shied away from taking responsibility, forcing justice Shreeniwas Oka to ask the state to take the blame as it all started with the letter that came from the local Marathalli police.
The police had carried out the demolition and alleged that the tenants were “illegal Bangladeshi migrants”, and claimed the landowner had been sent an eviction notice.
The PIL was filed by people's union for civil liberties (PUCL), who argued that the action taken by the BBMP and police was an act of collect criminality which discriminated against one community, as it violates Article 14, 19 (d) (e).
The judge stated, "First, the government will have to withdraw the letter that came from the police. What authority does the police have to undertake such acts? Will they do it for all illegal structures across the city?"
Arguing for the BBMP, advocate Puttegowda said notices were issued to the landowner prior to the eviction but no action was taken. He also mentioned that the assistant executive engineer (AEE) Narayan Swamy, who was on deputation by BBMP, was transferred back to his Home department.
The Bench asked that the land owner also implead as a respondent in the case as he would be the 'ultimate beneficiary' if it was a case of land being encroached.
The court asked all respondents to file their objections before the court. It also asked to give a specific statement on which agency carried out the demolition, and if the police do not have the necessary information, a thorough enquiry into the matter be carried out.
The matter will be next heard on January 30.