New Delhi: The land tussle between the Karnataka government and the Bangalore Turf Club Ltd (BTC), the company that owns the city’s 430 acre race course, came before the Supreme Court on Tuesday. But the hearing, which was to be concluded within 3 days before a special bench, will be taken up only after a month because the state government was not sure of its stand and had not filed a counter to BTC’s appeal. In the meanwhile, the court has ordered that the status quo will prevail until it finishes hearing the case, which comes as a temporary relief for BTC because the Karnataka high court had given it the time till 22 September to vacate the existing premises.
The government had said before the Karnataka high court that it was not obliged to offer the BTC alternate land for a new racing premises. But it changed its position slightly before the apex court, saying that although it was not obliged to procure alternate land it would do so if BTC suggests some locations. The government had proposed a site at Chikkajala, about 32 kilometers from the existing one, close to the Bangalore International Airport. But this did not work out after a petition was filed since Chikkajala is an environmentally sensitive area.
The race course shifted to its current location in 1863 after a land grant by the erstwhile Mysore State. The BTC is currently joined in this appeal by People for Animals, BTC employees and the National Horse Breeding Society of India. Four top senior advocates - K. K. Venugopal, Soli Sorabji, Dr. Abhishek Singhvi and S. Naganand appeared for the BTC side.
In May, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) issued a similar eviction to the Royal Western India Turf Club, which runs the 226 acre Mahalaxmi race course.