Karnataka High Court
Karnataka High Court
Litigation News

Give reasons for inaction in relation to burning down of shanties of migrant workers: Karnataka HC to state govt in suo motu PIL

Rintu Mariam Biju

The Karnataka High Court today directed the state government to place on record the reasons for its inaction in relation to the burning down of unoccupied huts of migrant workers in Bengaluru East back in March.

Referring to the incident as "most unfortunate", a Division Bench headed by Abhay Shreeniwas Oka opined,

"The State will have to take this seriously. In the capital city, taking advantage of lockdown....somebody burning huts of poor people is the most unfortunate incident."

Karnataka High Court

Further, the Bench proceeded to direct the state government to submit its statement of objections giving the reasons for the delayed action.

This statement has to be supported by a senior officer of the state government, it was clarified.

This apart, the Court also directed the state government to submit a report of the fire brigade department after the incident and to clarify the status of the land.

The Court also instructed the Registry to implead the Bengaluru Development Authority (BDA) as a respondent in the matter.

These directions came in a suo motu plea pertaining to the burning of temporary shanties housing migrant workers in Bengaluru. The incident was reported to the Court by Advocate Vaishali Hegde, through a letter-petition.

Hegde's letter brought 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 pointed out that due to the unfortunate incident, many poor migrant workers had lost their only shelter.

During the hearing today, government pleader Vikram Huilgol informed the Court that there were two fires, one on March 28, and the other on March 30, and that a total of 90 huts were burned down.

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered on May 1 and subsequently, three accused were arrested, and are in custody right now, Huilgol said.

He further submitted that the migrants had gone back to Kalaburgi district before the lockdown began.

The matter will be next heard on June 24.

Last week, a 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.

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