Bengaluru's new Constitution Club steeped in history

Bengalurus new Constitution Club steeped in history

A PIL filed by environmentalist T Dattatreya Deva challenging the conversion of heritage building Balabrooie Guest House into a Constitution Club came...

A PIL filed by environmentalist T Dattatreya Deva challenging the conversion of heritage building Balabrooie Guest House into a Constitution Club came up for hearing on January 17 before a division bench comprising Chief Justice PB Varale and Justice Ashok S Kinagi.

At that time, government lawyer Prathima Honnapura appealed by stating that the government has filed an interim application seeking to vacate the order given by the court on October 7, 2021 to maintain the status quo regarding the building, and it should be investigated and validated.

'Also, there is no proposal before the government to reconstruct, redesign and demolish the guest house. There is a proposal to increase the beauty of the interior without making any changes in the building. Also, there is an intention to convert this building into a Constitution Club. No trees within the premises of the building shall be cut down. The government will assure the court that it will not damage any part of the building', she said.

The court, having recorded this fact, should maintain the building without modification. It also instructed the government to take action not to cut down any trees in the premises of the guest house. Then CJ PB Varale stated, Delhi's Constitution Club has a good library and good coffee. It would be better if a similar atmosphere is created in Bangalore too."

The Speaker of the Legislative Assembly announced in a press conference regarding the conversion of Balabrooie guest house into a constitutional club. The petitioner had approached the court questioning it.

Historical facts

Balabrooie has been an integral part of Karnataka's history. In the 1850s, it was home to Sir Mark Cubbon who was then the chief commissioner of Bangalore. Mark Cubbon, who was a commissioner in the British administration, built the Balabrooie guest house in an area of about 14 acres. The 200-year-old trees in the premises of the building have 40 feet of roots and collect rainwater. Also, there is a history of many dignitaries including Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, Bharat Ratna Sir M Visveswaraiah, Rabindranath Tagore staying in that building.

Since then, many ministers and High Court and Supreme Court judges have stayed here during their visits to Bangalore. Also, It served as home to then Chief Minister Devaraj Urs for a while and also for S R Bommai during his regime as the chief minister.

On August 7, 2021, a division bench of the High Court had issued an interim order to maintain the status quo regarding the decision to convert the Balabrooie Guest House into a Constitutional Club and the felling of trees in the guest house premises. Now that order has been modified.

Covid war room

Balabrooie Guest House on Palace Road had been selected as the Corona war room for all the districts of the state. Former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa had presided. Task force meetings and video conferences were held here. This Corona war room was functioning 24/7.

Earlier, Balabrooie guest house and Carlton, where the college office is located, were removed from there after strong opposition was raised to build a MLA's club. Later there was a discussion held to plan the construction of club in Government D Group employees' quarters. For the past several years, the government's plan to build a MLA club for the entertainment of MLAs faced many hurdles. The project fell into disrepair without being able to finalise any location.

After the Santro Ravi case, the government has imposed restrictions on the Balabrooie guest house. Shruti, a resident of Palace Road, had come to Balabrooie for a walk with her family. This time, the police asked them to show their ID card and sent them back home without letting them inside after this incident.

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