Karnataka HC overturns official’s order in Mysuru land case

Pramoda Devi Wadiyar and 150 others had questioned the govt. claim over land vested with the Maharaja, sold in the 1960s

In a relief to hundreds of property owners, including a member of the erstwhile Mysore royal family, Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, the Karnataka High Court has set aside the May 26, 2015, order of the Mysuru Deputy Commissioner declaring that around 2,000 acres of private land, held and alienated by the then Maharaja of Mysore, are government’s ‘B kharab’ land reserved for public purposes.

A large portion of the land in villages at the foot of Chamundi Hills, was sold to several individuals during 1960s and 1970s from the private land vested with the Maharaja as part of the agreement with the Government of India as per the instrument of accession.

On June 20, 2012, following an inquiry under the Karnataka Land Reforms (KLR) Act, 1964, the Deputy Commissioner declared that the land was part of the private land held by the then Maharaja and ordered removal of entries treating some of the land as “government B kharab.”

However, the Deputy Commissioner on May 26, 2015 cancelled the 2012 order while acting on a letter by the Principal Secretary (Revenue) based on an endorsement by the then Deputy Chief Minister on a representation made by an MLC for holding an inquiry under the KLR Act.

Ms. Pramoda Devi and more than 150 other land owners challenged the May 26, 2015 order of the Deputy Commissioner.

Justice S. Sunil Dutt Yadav, citing several illegalities in the Deputy Commissioner’s order, said the power to hold an inquiry under the KRL Act and cancellation of entries in revenue records could not have have been exercised decades after transfer of titles.

Also, the court said the Deputy Commissioner had no power to decide the dispute over title under the KLR Act, as such a power is vested only with civil courts.

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