The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday by way of interim relief restrained the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and the Bengaluru police from evicting those living in sheds in areas of Kariyammana Agrahara, Devarabeesanahalli, Kundalahalli and Bellanduru.
Recently, the authorities had carried out a demolition drive, displacing several people, on the pretext that the occupants were illegal Bangladeshi Migrants.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar while hearing a petition filed by People's Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL), Karnataka said
"Was it an external force that carried out the demolitions?.
The observation was made after the counsel for BBMP informed the court that demolitions were not carried out by the corporation. While the state counsel said that police had merely sent a team to the spot, based on the police protection, sought by the civic body, for removing the illegal sheds.
The petition states that 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) of the Constitution of India. The court has directed the respondents to file their objections by January 30, produce original files which led to the issuance of the notices by the police and the assistant executive engineer of BBMP on the next date of hearing. It also has asked the city police commissioner to conduct an inquiry to find out the agency that had carried out the eviction and demolition as there was no information available.
The petition claimed that the evictions are taking place on the basis of a notice issued by the Inspector, Marathahalli Police Station and a communication of the Assistant Executive Engineer, BBMP, Maratahahlli Sub-division claiming that Bangaladeshi immigrants are residing in the said area referencing some whatsapp videos. It is submitted that such notice is blatantly illegal and arbitrary. The residents residing herein are migrants from North Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Bihar and are being victimized on the basis of their vulnerable socio-economic status. Any action of the respondents towards demolishing the houses of the respondents and evicting them is arbitrary, without any jurisdiction and would result in the violation of their fundamental right to life, shelter and livelihood.
The plea also states that "That 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.
It adds that "That the Fifth Respondents have stated in impugned Police Notice dated 11-01-2010 that that the owner of the land on which the settlements were made was unlawfully providing shelter to "illegal migrants from Bangladesh". It is submitted that the right to shelter under Article 21 is guaranteed to all persons regardless of their citizenship, nationality, and legal status as migrants in the Indian state."
The plea prays for Issuance of an appropriate Writ, order or direction quashing the "Police Notice" dated 11.01.2020, issued by the 5th Respondent as illegal, without authority or jurisdiction and violative of the fundamental rights of the residents and also the notice dated 18.01.2020, issued by the 7th respondent, as illegal, without authority or jurisdiction and violative of the fundamental rights of the residents.