SC stays Karnataka govt’s Akrama Sakrama scheme

With this, the court put on hold the Karnataka High Court order of December 13, 2016

SC stays Karnataka govt’s Akrama Sakrama scheme

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Karnataka government’s move to regularise illegal constructions in the state through a scheme popularly known as Akrama Sakrama.

A bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud questioned the Congress government's decision: “We don't know what they are doing. Where are they taking the nation?”

Hearing a plea by Namma Bangalore Foundation and others, the bench initially said, “What can we do as the legislature knows best how to deal with the situation? People are living there in those buildings. Maybe they are thinking nationally... as so many illegal colonies are being regularised in Delhi.”

However, the court put on hold the Karnataka High Court order of December 13, 2016. The high court had then lifted its own stay on the scheme to regularise unauthorised constructions and commercial buildings built in residential layouts. The stay had remained in force from 2007 till December 2016. The Supreme Court’s order will stall revenue generation of thousands of crores at the municipalities.

Lakhs of owners of unauthorised residential and commercial properties were expected to benefit from the scheme.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the NGO, challenged the high court’s order.

He submitted that the state government had decided to extend the cut-off date for such structures from September 15, 2007, to December 30, 2013.

He said, “The consequence of the decision is to make a clear distinction between the abiding class and the violating class”.

“How can the high court say that it is in public interest? How can change of land use be allowed by amending the Town and Planning Act,” he asked.

The Karnataka government, represented by Basava Prabhu Patil, and the BBMP, represented by Sanjay Nuli, defended the high court’s decision.

They maintained the policy fell under the domain of the state legislature and was introduced in the larger public interest. Besides, it was intended to earn revenue for the municipalities, they contended.
Given the Supreme Court order on Friday, no applications under Akrama-Sakrama can now be processed. The order implies a complete stay until the matter is heard again by the Supreme Court.