Beyond Carlton files PIL on inspection of Bangalore’s high-rises

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High court

BANGALORE: The Karnataka high court on Monday ordered notice to the home department, fire and emergency services and several urban agencies in a PIL filed by Beyond Carlton, an organization comprising families of the Carlton Towers fire tragedy victims. Nine people had died in the blaze that broke out in the high-rise on Old Airport Road, in February 2010.

A division bench headed by Justice KL Manjunath also ordered notice to the BDA, BBMP, Bescom and BWSSB.

Beyond Carlton sought direction to the authorities to inspect all high-rises in Bangalore city for fire safety, as mandated in the notification issued by the authorities in July 2011. It also sought submission of a bi-annual report to the court, with regard to the action initiated by the authorities.

According to the petitioner, of the 1,091 high-rise buildings in the city, only 79 were inspected. The notification mandated the inspection of all the buildings between July 2011 and April 2012.

“The authorities have not provided/deputed necessary personnel for expeditious inspection of high-rise buildings. It is abysmal compliance of the court order,” the petitioner said.

What the HC had said

On June 27, 2011, a division bench of the high court had given the home department two weeks to notify the procedures with regard to fire safety measures in high-rises in Bangalore and elsewhere in the state. “Draw up the procedure and notify it under Section 13 of the Karnataka Fire Force Act,” the division bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar had observed, before disposing of the PIL filed by Beyond Carlton.

Notice to govt and BBMP

A division bench headed by Justice KL Manjunath on Monday ordered notice to the state government, KIADB and others in a PIL filed by Namma Bangalore Foundation and several residents’ welfare associations.

The petitioners demanded that the government take back about 80 acres of land in Agara village, Begur hobli, Bangalore South taluk, which was given on lease to two companies, Mantri Techzone and Core Mind Software Services.

The petitioners claimed that even before environmental clearance is issued, construction has started in an area near Agara lake. The land is being misused for real estate, contrary to the purpose for which it was given.

Seemandhra stir: PIL withdrawn

A PIL which sought direction to the state, Andhra Pradesh and central governments to provide protection to the people of Karnataka in Seemandhra region, was withdrawn on Monday after the Karnataka high court refused to entertain it.

“How can we issue such a direction? We can’t send our policemen there. We have no such jurisdiction. Since it’s an inter-state issue, you better approach the Supreme Court,” a division bench headed by Justice KL Manjunath observed.

Earlier, GR Mohan, counsel for the petitioner organization, The Human Rights Defenders’ Forum (Karnataka), contended that people from Karnataka are finding it difficult to reach some areas within the borders of the state because they had to pass through Andhra Pradesh, which is in the grip of the Seemandhra agitation.

The petitioners claimed the Centre can intervene by invoking Article 355 of the Constitution.

SPP takes charge

M Narayana Reddy, appointed state public prosecutor, took charge on Monday, replacing S Dore Raju. The state government appointed 43 law officers on Saturday.

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