The Karnataka High Court has directed the state government to inform by February 10 whether it would rehabilitate those persons who were evicted from Kariyammana Agrahara, Devarabeesanahalli, Kundalahalli and Bellanduru areas, on the pretext that they were illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
Otherwise, the Court said, it would pass appropriate orders.
A Division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar said;
"We are of the prima facie view that the state will have to rehabilitate those who were evicted. It all started with a police inspector of the State Government writing a letter to the land owners. The state has to rehabilitate all of them, either pay them or accommodate them somewhere else."
The bench expressed serious displeasure at the statement made by the land owner, respondent 8, and 9 (Chetan and Gopinath), who claimed that the sheds (which were demolished) were built by migrants in their land without their knowledge. The land owners claimed that they had called upon the occupants to show their identity cards and that one on their failure to do so, they were asked to vacate and the occupants left on their own.
Disbelieving this version, the bench asked "Who will believe that in the city of Bangalore, people will leave on a polite request made, without there being backing of the police."
Counsel for the state government told the court that the letter written by the Police Inspector of Marathahalli police station has been withdrawn and the police officer has been transferred.
To which court said:
"What transfer of the police officer? He should be thrown away from the job. He takes upon the power of civil court to remove illegal immigrants. His letter to the land owners calls for records of the illegal Bangaldeshi immigrants staying on the land. By looking at the face of people, can he identify whether he/she is a Bangaldeshi national!. A proper door to door survey/verification should have been conducted. There is also no justification by the state to choose the owner of this land for issuing the police notice."
The corporation has informed the court that no action of demolition was undertaken by it.
Advocate General Prabhuling K Navadgi submitted pictures of the area and also informed the court that on complaints received from local residents and on the advisory of the Government of India, the police inspector wrote the letter. He added that "Such illegal sheds pose a threat of illegal activities."
The bench said "The Advisory only says that law enforcement agencies be sensitized to take action against illegal immigrants."
The court has by way of interim relief, granted earlier, restrained authorities from evicting those living in sheds, in areas of Kariyammana Agrahara, Devarabeesanahalli, Kundalahalli and Bellanduru.
On the previous hearing the court had asked "Was it an external force that carried out the demolitions."
The BBMP claimed before the Court that it had not carried out the eviction by alleging that the occupants were illegal Bangladeshi migrants.
The Court made the above observations in the case filed by People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) challenging that eviction drive of BBMP and police against alleged Bangladeshi migrants.
The petition states that action taken by the BBMP and police was illegal and unconstitutional. The eviction drive was being undertaken on the basis of baseless rumours that Bangladehsi immigrants were occupying the lands.
The residents are migrants from North Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Bihar, who are being victimized on the basis of their vulnerable socio-economic status, PUCL stated
"Every person has a right to shelter guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. That the right under Article 21, can only be deprived by way of a just fair and reasonable procedure established by law, which is absent in the present case. No order was issued by any statutory authority for the demolition of the said property.", the plea stated.