The Karnataka High Court on Thursday set February 15 as deadline for the State government to file a report on compliance of directions issued by the Supreme Court and High Court for granting Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) certificates to eligible persons to use lands of the Bangalore Palace Grounds for widening Ballari and Jayamahal roads.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum issued the direction while hearing a PIL petition by Samarpana, a cultural and social service organisation. The petitioner had sought direction for widening Ramana Maharshi Road (commonly known as Ballari Road) as per clearance given by the apex court in 2014, and to scientifically regulate traffic on this stretch of the road.

The government produced before the court a decision taken on July 17, 2019 permitting the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) to take over 64,653 sq m (15 acres 39 guntas) of land of Palace Grounds for widening of these roads as per the TDR rules existing in July 2019.

However, the Bench pointed out that grant of TDR certificates should be as per the TDR rules existing when the Supreme Court permitted grant of TDR certificates in 2014 and as noted by the High Court in its September 2016 order indicating that TDR certificates should based on the then existing rules.

The High Court in 2016 had said that the TDR rule should of the then existing ones in response to government’s statement it had not yet given TDR certificates despite taking permission from the apex court way back in 2014 as it was contemplating to revise the TDR rules and zoning areas.

Meanwhile, the government informed the Bench that it had on March 4, 2020, granted permission for the BBMP to accept the bid of a company, which had agreed to widen the Jayamahal Road between Mekhri junction underpass and Jayamahal Hotel, and Ballari Road stretch between BDA junction and Mekhri junction underpass at cost of around ₹52.8 crore with certain conditions.

The Bench adjourned further hearing till February 17 asking the government to produce details of TDR certificates grant to the eligible appellants, whose appeals against High Court’s order of upholding Bangalore Palace (Acquisition and Transfer) Act, 1996 are pending adjudication before the apex court.

The Supreme Court, on November 21, 2014, without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the government and members of erstwhile Mysuru royal family had granted permission to widen the roads subject to the condition that the applicants before the Supreme Court of India and in the connected appeals should be given transfer of development rights for widening the road as per the TDR rules.

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