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A case study from koramangala on land grabbing

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Dear all,

A posting on a legal win in a land case in Koramangala.It might serve as a boost for others in similar fights and also some indications of methodology, though of course that would change from a case to case basis.
Essentials of the case

  • 12 acres of prime property in the heart of Koramangala.
  • Was a tank called Mestripalaya.
  • Ownership dispute between GOK (BDA) and one Hannumaih who claimed it was his land. Dispute going on for over 20 years.
  • BDA meanwhile in Masterplan 2015 marks this tank as a residential area.
  • Successive governments, bureaucracy have shown different interests in the land, sometime fighting to keep it in government control, sometime not fighting the case properly.
  • Obvious moneybags /builder behind Hannumaih to fight countless court cases and twice to Supreme Court. 

Finally, in the Supreme Court today, the ruling is that it is a government tank, and no individual has property rights over it.
Citizens’ involvement

  • Citizens entered the case essentially when BDA showed this as “residential” in Masterplan 2015, through direct PIL and Impleading in other title deed fights.
  • We have been monitoring GOK lawyers’ performance and in fact doing all the background work in terms of getting all relevant documents and almost getting their case for them. This resulted in an unambiguous judgment in the Karnataka high court, deeming the land as a public tank.
  • When the high court judgment went to Supreme Court for appeal by Hannumaih, we found BDA strangely, but predictably, not very interested in fighting the case hard.
  • Through a combined strategy of putting pressure on BDA by other GOK bodies, direct intervention by Impleading in the Supreme Court case with a senior counsel, and by virtually writing the case/objection for the government, the case was won today.

 Some things that worked for us

  • we followed a basic principle that not all politicians, government bodies, bureaucrats are bad.
  • we were able to find great chaps and organization in GOK which really wanted to see this land as an open space/tank.
  • these were Lake Authority and another one which is formed to protect government lands (aka ramaswamy report).
  • we had a good backing in financing care off Namma Bengaluru Foundation , for supreme court senior counsel and also for inroads into BDA.
  • And of course we had a team of tireless workers in Koramangala and funding from Koramangalites. 

Next steps

  • Our fight is still not over.
  • We have to finally get the BDA to show this space as open spaces in the Masterplan once and for all.
  • After all and many GOK bodies and citizens watching I doubt they can now get away.

Essential learning

  • Major things can be changed even by a loose collection of concerned citizens.
  • Just have an open mind on support. It can come from even unlikely sources.
  • Not all bureaucrats, politicians, government bodies are bad.
  • Have patience.

Sorry for the long posting. But thought some people out there might benefit with our experience.
Vijayan menon


silkboard's picture

things can be changed

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Congrats again, liked one line in there that says it well:

Major things can be changed even by a loose collection of concerned citizens.

silkboard's picture

Congrats, and good example

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I am pretty sure there are more people in the city fighting similar cases of government land grab directly or indirectly by money bags or builders. A good example and precedent for them.

Possible to share the case #, so that we can pull out all data from the courts and post them right here!?

Naveen's picture


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Viajayan - Thanks for details. As I mentioned, I had also been following this from a long time since we are old residents of k'mangala!

Let's hope koramangala can also find a way to rid itself off the zillions of cars parked all over !

murali772's picture

hats off, Sir!

207 users have liked.

And of course we had a team of tireless workers in Koramangala and funding from Koramangalites   - The lead clearly was from Vijayan, his persistence and perseverence were amazing - hat's off, Sir!


Muralidhar Rao
silkboard's picture

How much effort does it take?

177 users have liked.

Mr Menon, how much of time and effort does it take to persist with things like this? Since you have experience with PILs as well, how much effort does it take - cost as well as personal time?

Can the work of supporting a PIL be shared between say 10-12 people? Or will the same set of people be require to go to the court on each hearing?

Some education please, it will help us all who only read about PILs etc in news reports.

vmenon's picture

how much effort?

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there is of course effort, but  a lot less than what it appears.


fundamentally teh biggest effort is in the case dtails itself.the entire onus of finding the details of the case, in a PIL lies on the the guys filing the PIL.

i.e thro RTI , analysys, othe rmethids the case must be made.The advocate then puts it in a legal frame and fights it in court.

it is the first part, making the case,which is the toughest, and requires people working together, something which i believe the praja community ca do admirably.

the rest , fighting the case, funding the case, following up constantly with lawyers, all while important, are a lot more handlable.'

in nutshell, if no basic case and ammunition for the legal fraternity( which is the onus of the petitionors) then  no case.







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