Briefing Note – Who should plan the city? Master Plan for Bengaluru.

February 27, 2018
Research
Constitution & Governance

While the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) recently published the Draft Revised Master Plan for Bengaluru, civil society groups from the city have filed Writ Petitions in the High Court of Karnataka challenging the constitutional authority of the BDA to prepare the Master Plan. They have argued that it is the constitutionally mandated Metropolitan Planning Committee (MPC) that should prepare the Master Plan and not the BDA. As the High Court of Karnataka adjudicates whether the BDA or the MPC should have the power to make the Master Plan, this CLPR Briefing Note authored by Sudhir Krishnaswamy and Mathew Idiculla examines the constitutional and legal framework for urban planning and clarifies the roles of the MPC, the BDA and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) in planning for Bengaluru. It argues that as per the 74th Constitutional Amendment, it is the elected urban local body like the BBMP which is primarily vested with the task of urban planning while the MPC is tasked with responsibility to prepare a metropolitan-level development plan which integrates the plans prepared by the various elected local bodies in the metropolitan area.

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The Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) published the Draft Revised Master Plan for Bengaluru for public comments in November 2017 and has received around 14,000 objections and suggestions from the public. While most of these responses deal with individual concerns regarding land use categorisation in specific localities in Bengaluru, questions regarding the legitimacy of the BDA to plan for the city have also been raised. Two Bengaluru based citizens groups- Namma Bengaluru Foundation and Citizens Action Forum- have filed Writ Petitions in the High Court of Karnataka challenging the constitutional authority of the BDA to prepare the Master Plan. In October 2017, a division bench of the High Court had passed an interim order restraining the Government of Karnataka from approving the Master Plan without the permission of the Court.[1]

[1] “Karnataka government restrained from approving 2031 master plan”, The Hindu, October 17, 2017. Available at http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/karnataka-government-restrained-from-approving-2031-master-plan/article19873421.ece