By Devil’s Advocate
My Lords are unhappy. The reason this time being their accommodation. So what do the Lords do? Ask the State Government to grant them 40 acres of land somewhere in the city provided it is a ten minute drive from the High Court of Karnataka which is in the judicature of Bangalore.
Now with the Lords making their intentions clear, it is the turn of the State government to look out for land. Incidentally the State which is doing the judiciary a favour is the largest litigant in the High Court.
What do the Lords want?
40 bungalows are what they need and to beat it all the government has located four prime areas in the heart of Bangalore city.
1) Bangalore Turf Club on Race Course road
2) Golf Club on Sankey Road
3) Old Central Jail premises near Maharani’s College
4) Agro Industries Corporation Premises at Hebbal.
The demand for bungalows for the judges was first raised by Chief Justice Cyraic Joseph while inaugurating the Golden Jubilee Gate at the High Court in the presence of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and PWD Minister H D Revanna recently. He had stated that judges stay at far off places in the city and because of the heavy traffic there is difficulty for them to reach the courts in time.
Hence it would be necessary that all judges of the High Court are given houses by the government and more importantly it should be a 10- minute drive from the High Court, he had said.
The Chief Justice in a recent letter to the government has reiterated the demand and urged it to expedite the matter.
Agro Industries: There is a litigation surrounding it. Since it is under liquidation, anyone taking up this land would have to pay Rs 150 crore, which the government thinks is not feasible.
Golf Course: Parting with the land in the golf course could spin into a major controversy considering the influential people who are its members. Moreover, it would also raise several issues among the environmentalists since it constitutes a green space.
Old Central Jail: Although this place would have been ideal as it is bereft of any controversy, it appears that this proposal may not come through. There is a commitment already made to construct a Freedom Fighters park and also the thought of judges residing in a jail premises may not be appropriate.
Turf Club: This seems to be a possibility since there were moves to shift the Turf Club during the S M Krishna regime. Moreover, there is 60 acres of land and would be enough to house each bungalow one acre.
Where the Lords dwell?
Judges of the High Court at present are given Rs 25,000 each as House rent allowance. If the bungalows are set up then the judges would not be entitled for this amount. At present apart from the Chief Justice only three senior judges have been granted official bungalows.
Where their brothers dwell?
Calcutta High Court: Apartments for Judges at Salt Lake. HC is situated in Balygunje. It takes 40 minutes to reach the venue. Here judges are not given an official car and use their own cars. In Karnataka each judge is given a Toyota Corolla.
Bombay High Court: Some Judges reside in the Rocky Hill Apartments at Napean Sea Road High Court situated at Flora Fountain Area while others reside at Darbar Hill. The High Court at Marine Drive is approximately a 20-30 minute drive.
Kerala High Court: New apartments constructed at Kallur are lying vacant. It is a 20-minute drive from here too.
So what do you call this other than extravagance? Is it necessary to move heaven and earth to accommodate My Lords? The need of the hour is a decent residence which could be an apartment. Extravagance sure not is.
Think about it.