Relief for Law Minister Sadananda Gowda in Land Case; Supreme Court quashes Karnataka HC Judgment [Read Judgment]
In spite of the clout that Sadananda Gowda may have wielded in Karnataka, his actions relating to the construction of the building on his plot of land do not suggest any abuse, the Apex Court said while allowing the appeal by the Law Minister.
Supreme Court of India has set aside the judgment of Karnataka High Court which had quashed the orders sanctioning the building construction plans in favour of Sadananda Gowda and Jeevaraj by the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and directed the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to take action against them for violating the conditions in the lease-cum-sale agreement.
Apex Court bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and S.A. Bobde held that there has been no violation of the lease-cum-sale agreement or the sanction plan for construction such as to violate the lease-cum-sale agreement with the BDA.
Nagalaxmi Bai, the petitioner before High Court had raised following contentions.
- Two adjacent plots were amalgamated despite refusal by the BDA and a composite or consolidated building was impermissibly constructed on them and therefore there was a per se violation of the lease-cum-sale deed entered into by Sadananda Gowda and Jeevaraj with the BDA.
- The constructed building was not in conformity with the sanctioned plan approved by the BBMP and therefore there was a violation of the lease-cum-sale agreement with the BDA and the affidavit in the form of an undertaking given to the BDA
- Contrary to the lease-cum-sale deed, the building was intended to be used for commercial purposes.
The High Court allowing the Writ petition had asked the BBMP to cancel the sanction given to Sadananda Gowda and Jeevaraj. This order of High Court was assailed in the appeal before Supreme Court.
The Apex court observed that condition No. 4 of the lease-cum-sale agreement that it is breached or violated under three circumstances:
- If the plot is sub-divided or
- If more than one building is constructed thereon for the purposes of human habitation or
- If an apartment whether attached to the building or not is used as a shop or a warehouse etc
Plots were not sub divided
The Apex court said that there is no allegation that either Sadananda Gowda or Jeevaraj have sub-divided their respective plot, rather the allegation is that they have amalgamated their plots . The court added that it does not agree with the view adopted by the High Court that the amalgamation of the two plots is a breach or violation of the lease-cum-sale agreement. The court also observed that nobody has a case that more than one building has been constructed on either of the plots or that the building or any part thereof is used as a shop or warehouse etc.
Deviation from sanctioned plan not per se illegal-modifications can be made
The Court also observed that merely because a building has some deviations from the sanctioned plan, either at the initial stage or later on in the construction, does not necessarily mean that the construction is per se illegal unless the deviations are irremediable, in which event an occupancy certificate or completion certificate will not be granted. Changes and modifications may be made as required by the building bye-laws or by the municipal authority and this is precisely what has happened so far as the present case is concerned, which is that to bring the construction in conformity with the building regulations, a part of the building was demolished by Sadananda Gowda and Jeevaraj. The stage at which the modifications are made is not of any consequence, as long as they are made before the occupancy certificate or a completion certificate is granted, the bench said.
It was also contended that the construction is such that the building is capable of being used as a commercial complex. Some photographs produced showed that shutters have been put up. The court said that If the putting up of shutters is suggestive of unlawful commercial use of a part of the building, the BDA and the BBMP can consider the matter for whatever it is worth, including whether 20% of the building can be commercially exploited or not.
Addressing the concerns that Sadananda Gowda, with his political clout could influence the authorities, the court said In spite of the clout that Sadananda Gowda may have wielded in Karnataka, his actions relating to the construction of the building on his plot of land do not suggest any abuse. Undoubtedly, there are some deviations in the construction which will surely be taken care of by the BBMP which has categorically stated on affidavit that an occupancy certificate will be given only if the building constructed conforms to the sanctioned plan and the building bye-laws, the bench said.
Read the Judgment here.