Karnataka High Court
Karnataka High Court
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Burning down of shanties housing migrant workers in Bengaluru: Karnataka HC takes suo motu cognizance, issues notice to state govt and BBMP

Rintu Mariam Biju

On the basis of a letter addressed to Chief Justice Abhay S Oka by Advocate Vaishali Hegde, the Karnataka High Court has decided to take suo motu cognizance of the burning of temporary shanties housing migrant workers in Bengaluru.

The Bench of Chief Justice Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty took cognizance of the matter and directed the Registrar General to implead the state government and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) as respondents.

Hegde's letter brings the Court's attention to an incident where shanties housing migrant workers in Bangalore's Kacharakanahalli area were set ablaze by some miscreants. Relying on newspaper articles, the letter points out that due to the unfortunate incident that occurred in the last week of April, many poor migrant workers have lost their only shelter.

This is violative of their fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21, the letter highlights.

"The newspaper reports indicate the brazen action by unscrupulous and rowdy elements by taking law into their own hands and deliberately setting fire to the shanties/huts in the slum only with a view to ensure that voiceless and poor migrant labourers/workers are dispossessed from the land and rendered shelterless."

Hedge further states that the newspapers also point out that the "state police were mute spectators" in the matter and have not taken any investigation/appropriate action.

The letter further reads,

"....such brazen and illegal actions should not be permitted to occur in a State governed by Rule of Law. If the society does not take note of such brazen illegal actions, ultimately the rights of the poor and voiceless migrant labourers (equal citizens of the country) would get drowned by the power of the money and might of the influential and unscruplous elements."

Letter to CJ Oka regarding burning down of shanties

On these grounds, the letter urges the Court to direct a proper investigation into the matter. It further seeks a direction to the state government to provide food and shelter to the unfortunate migrants.

The matter will be next heard on June 11.

Read letter here

Letter to CJ Oka - burning down of shanties.pdf
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Suo Motu PIL - Burning of shanties.pdf
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