Govt. told to enforce SC order prohibiting installation of statues on public roads

The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday directed the State government to ensure implementation of the apex court’s 2013 direction to all States not to grant permission for installation of statue or construction of any structure on public roads, pavements, sideways, and other pubic utility places.

Also, the court set aside the 2017 decisions of the State government and the Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) to install a statue of late Sri Shivaratri Rajendra Swami of Suttur Mutt at a circle near Gun House on the southern side of Mysuru palace.

A Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum passed the order while allowing a PIL petition filed by Akhila Bharata Kshatriya Mahasabha and Karnataka Rajya Arasu Sangha, Bengaluru, challenging decision to install the seer’s statue.

The Bench found that both the March 3, 2017, decision of the government and August 2018 resolution passed by the MCC to install the seer’s statue at the circle was contrary to the direction of the apex court. The High Court on January 29, 2018, had stayed the government’s March 2017 decision.

“State governments shall not grant permission for installation of statue or construction of structure on public roads, pavements, sideways and other pubic utility places. Obviously, this order shall not apply to installation of high mast lights, streetlights, or construction relating to electrification, traffic, toll, or development and beautification of the streets, highways, roads etc. and relating to public utility and facilities. The Chief Secretary/administrator concerned shall ensure compliance of the order,” the apex court had stated in its order.

Refusing to accept the government’s contention that the spot where the seer’s statue was proposed to be installed does not come under the definition of public area as per the apex court’s order, the Bench, from the map, noticed that the spot is a place where six roads join and the circle is part of the road.

The government had contended that the petitioners had “vested interest” as they knocked the doors of the gourt after the authorities rejected their plea for installing the statue of late Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, scion of the Mysuru royal family, at that location.

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