Advocate moves court over site allotment for 29 High Court judges
INDIAN EXPRESS Dated: 19th JUNE 1995
( Nation-wide on front page of all Editions of Indian Express )

BANGALORE: advocate has a filed a writ petition against 29 High Court judges challenging the "legality, morality, propriety and judicial integrity" of their getting site allotments through a housing society.

Also challenged are two government notifications issued in 1988 and 1989 facilitating the acquisition by the Society of 237 acres of land in Yelahanka, on the outskirts of the City.

According to the petitioner, S. Vasudeva, the Karnataka State Judicial Department Employees House Building Co-operative Society was registered with the objective of providing sites to relatively lower level employees. This purpose was defeated when the membership of the society was thrown open to judges as well. Serving. Retired and transferred judges thereafter became the main beneficiaries, getting plots as large as 100ft by 100ft, and 120ft by 100ft.

Vasudeva complains that because of the involvement of the judges, the petition is prevented from being beard although it was filed on March 27, 1995 and numbered as WP 11211 of 1995 (LA).

Judges disabling themselves because of their membership of the society is the principal reason given for not taking up the petition, But alleges Vasudeva this has not prevented some judges from taking decisions on matters relating to the Society.

He has cited the example of a demand for Rs. 55 lakh made by the Government towards conversion charges of the land acquired by the society. Instead of paying the money, the society filed a petition (no. 2382 of 1990) challenging the Government’s order. The Writ Petition came up before Justice Rajendra Babu who issued a stay order on February 2 1990. The petition has not yet come up for appeal despite the passage of five years. Justice Rajendra Babu is a member of the society.

After Vasudeva’s own petition was numbered on March 27, it was posted for hearing before Justice Ravindra on March 30. Although the board bench has scrutinized the petition and raised no objection, Justice Ravindra pointed out inaccuracies in the addresses of some judges and put off any hearing. The petitioner quickly eliminated the inaccuracies and the writ came up before Justice Ravindra Again on April 10. This time Justice Ravindra disqualified himself from hearing the petition. Justice Ravindra is a member of the Society.

The petitioner then appealed to Chief Justice Hakeem who posted it to court hall no. 3 before Justice Krishnamurthy. When the matter came up before him on April 20, Justice Krishnamurthy also disqualified himself he is a member of the society.

The next day, April 21, the petitioner brought the problem to the notice of the Chief Justice and prayed that he take it up personally before 1.30 p.m. that day. (There was to be no siting of the court that afternoon on account of a farewell party for retiring Justice Vasantkumar. And from the next day the court was closing for summer vacation until May 28.)

The Chief Justice accepted the petitioner’s argument and ordered that the petition be placed before him before 1.30 p.m. But the order was not complied with as the officers of the court said that relevant records were not available.

The next day the court closed. Soon after the court’s reopening , advocate Vasudeva appealed to the Chief Justice again. This time Chief Justice Hakeem issued a special order directing the Registrar (Judicial) to ascertain who on the Bench was not a member of the housing society and to place." The petition before him for June 12.

Justice Bakthavatslam was identified as a non-member of the society. The petition was posted before him for June 12. But Justice Bakthavtsalam who was on leave till June 8 extended his leave till June 24.

Advocate Vasudeva and his petition are still waiting.                                                                                                     Top

That many judges have got themselves large-size plots while other genuine members of the society are denied even small ones is not the only complaint of the petitioner. Nor is his concern confined to the point that the judges’ membership of the housing society "causes erosion of the image of the judiciary". He has levelled the serious charge that some judges have filed false affidavits asserting that they have no other house sites.

Section 8 (a) of the bylaws of the society demands that allottees be not in possession of another site. The petitioner has resented details of the sites previously allotted to some of the judges by the BDA. Some he says, have even constructed houses on their sites.

The petition also charges that the acquisition of 237 acres of land for the society is in violation of the rules against engaging middleman. In this case the petition alleges, Rs. 94 lakh was paid to the middleman for which this was no proper accounting. The petitioner contention is that the could have been corrupt consideration

Advocate Vasudeva’s writ petition no 11211/95 (LA) gives a list of 29 judges of the Karnataka High Court, sitting or transferred or retired, as respondents, numbered 3 to 31. They are all alleged to be members of the housing society set up for judicial employees. The names are listed in a table with membership number and Yes or No idicating whether the allotted was already in possession of a house.

The table is as follows:

S.No.

Name of Judge

Membership No.

Whether owns A house or not

S. No.

Name of Judge

Membership No.

Whether owns A house or not

1. K. Ramachandraiah 813 No 16. R.K. Shyamsu0ndar 1731 Yes
2. K. Jagannatha Shetty 821 Yes 17. Jagnnatha Shetty 1959 Yes
3. M.S. Patil 823 Yes 18. K.B. Nawadgi 3 Yes
4. N.R. Kuddur 824 Yes 19. N. Venkatachala 852 Yes
5. P.A. Kulkarni 830 Yes 20. A.B. Nawagi 1172 No
6. R.R. Rajashekara Murthy 836 Yes 21. B. Jagannatha Hegde 897 Yes
7. K.S. Puttaswamy 841 Yes 22. M.M. Mirde 1838 Yes
8. V.S. Malimat 936 Yes 23. M. Ramakrishna 1491 Yes
9. Rama Jois 891 Yes 24. S. Mohan 1833 Yes
10. Vittal Rao 844 Yes 25. K.A. Swamy 1835 Yes
11. R.S. Mahendra 845 Yes 26. G.P. Shivaprakash 1878 Yes
12. B.R. Hiremath 849 Yes 27. Rajendra Babu 1918 Yes
13. N.D. Venketesh 880 Yes 28. N.Y. Hanumanthappa 1933 No
14. H.G. Balakrishna 1385 Yes 29. Shivaraj patil 1950 Yes
15. R.G. Desai 1631 Yes

Justice .S. Mohan now on the Supreme Court bench, is listed as an allottee who "informed the society in writing declining to accept" the site.