Virupapura Gaddi Heritage Case

The Virupapura Gaddi Heritage Case involves a legal battle between the Appellants and the Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority (HWHAMA) over the construction of illegal structures. The Appellants obtained licenses for commercial activities in Virupapura Gaddi but faced opposition under the Hampi Act. Discover how the conflict between heritage conservation and development unfolds in this intricate case.


  • The Appellants obtained licenses to operate hotels and restaurants in Virupapura Gaddi to cater to the increasing number of tourists from 1990-2000.
  • They also obtained diversion orders to change land use for commercial activities.
  • Introduction of the Hampi Act in 2002 led to the Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authority directing a halt to renewing licenses for commercial activities in Virupapura Gaddi.
  • The High Court dismissed writ petitions seeking to restrain authorities from demolishing structures in Virupapura Gaddi.
  • The Appellants own land in Virupapura Gaddi, which was later targeted for demolition by HWHAMA under the Hampi Act.
  • The State Government was empowered to declare protected monuments and areas under the Hampi Act.
  • Notifications were issued in 1982 and 1988 declaring certain villages including Virupapura Gaddi as protected areas.
  • The appeal to restrain demolition was filed by the Appellants after the High Court dismissed their writ petitions.
  • The High Court of Karnataka dismissed the writ petitions regarding the land use in Virupapura Gaddi.
  • Section 20(1) of the 1961 Act came into effect, allowing land use for cultivation only unless approved otherwise by the State Government.
  • Construction of hotels, restaurants, and guesthouses in Virupapura Gaddi was deemed in violation of the 1961 Act.
  • Panchayats were not authorized to approve building plans; the power rested solely with the State Government under Section 20(1) of the 1961 Act.
  • Virupapura Gaddi was in the ‘core zone’ of the heritage area specified under the Hampi Act, subject to the authority of the HWHAMA.
  • Illegally constructed structures under the 1988 notification could be demolished by the HWHAMA in Virupapura Gaddi.

Also Read: Interpretation of Will Clauses in Property Dispute


  • Whether the construction raised by the Appellants was lawful under the 1961 Act, in light of the 1988 notification is the primary issue in this part of the judgment
  • A preliminary objection was raised by the Appellants regarding hearing the appeal due to a pending challenge to the Hampi Act and the 1988 notification.
  • The Appellants sought permission to amend the SLP to declare the 1988 notification as ultra vires the provisions of the relevant Acts.
  • The conflict of provisions between different Acts was highlighted, leading to the necessity of staying the operation of the Hampi World Heritage Authority Management Act 2002 and the Master Plan 2021 to avoid multiple litigations.

Also Read: Preservation of Open Spaces in Development Plans


  • Appellants prayed for their buildings not to be demolished before the final decision is rendered by the High Court.
  • The entire village of Virupapura Gaddi is included within the boundaries of the protected area as per the 1988 notification.
  • Scheme of the 1961 Act designates ‘protected areas’ as distinct from ‘protected monuments’ limiting land use to cultivation.
  • Appellants engaged in commercial activities in violation of the 1961 Act as per Section 20(1).
  • HWHAMA proceeded against illegal constructions to protect heritage area under its delineated functions in the Hampi Act.
  • HWHAMA lacked authority to demolish Appellants’ structures before resorting to Section 20(2) through the Deputy Commissioner.
  • The power of HWHAMA to control development in heritage areas is prospective as per the Hampi Act.
  • Appellants asserted legality of businesses with relevant licenses and raised objections against demolition of structures by HWHAMA.
  • Impugned order lacks reasons and relies on unsubstantiated assumptions about illegality of conversion orders.
  • Virupapura Gaddi considered ‘protected area’ within the 1988 notification based on archaeological significance.
  • Regimes of the 1961 Act and Hampi Act are interlinked, and HWHAMA holds authority to enforce the 1988 notification.
  • Challenge to the 1988 notification pending in the High Court highlights the limited scope of Section 14 of the Hampi Act.
  • The absence of monuments in Virupapura Gaddi challenges its classification as a ‘protected area’ under the 1988 notification.

Also Read: Jurisdictional Limits and Statutory Compliance in Development Planning


  • The judgment analyzes the validity of the development undertaken by the Appellants under the 1961 Act, aimed at the preservation of ancient monuments and archaeological sites in Karnataka.
  • The Appellants obtained permissions/licenses from the local panchayat without the State Government’s authority, which is required for non-cultivable use in protected areas.
  • No development is allowed in eco-sensitive areas like river islands as per the 1961 Act and the Master Plan 2021.
  • The Hampi Act aimed at conserving the cultural heritage of Hampi and controlling development in the area, with a focus on sustainable development and preservation of historical identity.
  • The State Government dropped the classification of Hampi as ‘in danger’ in 2006, reflecting efforts to preserve the area.
  • The Appellants’ constructions on Virupapura Gaddi were deemed illegal under the 1961 Act due to restrictions on construction in protected areas.
  • The Hampi Act and the 1961 Act are interconnected, and the HWHAMA was within its rights to take action against the Appellants for illegal constructions.
  • Concerns about uncontrolled construction and illegal activities in Hampi led to the establishment of the HWHAMA to manage development and conservation of the heritage area.
  • Section 2 of the Act defines ‘ancient monument’ and ‘archaeological site and remains’ for the purposes of the Act.
  • The Act empowers the Government to declare ancient monuments and archaeological sites as protected areas.
  • Any person interested in an ancient monument or archaeological site may object to its declaration as a protected area within two months of notification.
  • If a building is constructed within a protected area in contravention of the Act, the Government can order its removal within a specified period.
  • If the person fails to comply with the removal order, the Deputy Commissioner may remove the building at the person’s cost.
  • The Act also prohibits unauthorized development within designated Heritage Areas without permission from the Authority.
  • Any authority or person seeking to undertake development within a Heritage Area must obtain permission from the Authority.
  • The Authority has the power to grant permission, impose conditions, or refuse permission for development within Heritage Areas.
  • Any person or authority aggrieved by the Authority’s decision may appeal to the State Government within thirty days.
  • The State Government’s decision on the appeal is final, and non-compliance with the Authority’s decision may result in the removal of unauthorized development at the cost of the person or authority.
  • The notification declaring an ancient monument or archaeological site as a protected area is conclusive evidence of its protected status.
  • Construction of rooms, huts, temporary structures, and buildings for hotels, restaurants, or guesthouses in Virupapura Gaddi by the Appellants was in violation of the 1961 Act.
  • The impugned final judgment and order dated 27.04.2015 by the High Court of Karnataka is upheld.
  • Lack of a notification under Section 14(1) does not render a prior notification for the same purpose unenforceable, such as the 1988 notification in this case.
  • HWHAMA had the authority to proceed with the demolition of illegal constructions.
  • The notification dated 10.07.2008 about the implementation of the Master Plan 2021 and Zonal Regulations fulfills the requirement of Section 14(1) by specifying restrictions on land use and prohibited types of development.
  • The Appellants cannot use the absence of regulation of Virupapura Gaddi as justification for their illegal construction on their land.


  • The Appellants have erected illegal structures in Virupapura Gaddi.
  • They are ordered to demolish these structures within one month.
  • The appeals are dismissed.


Case Number: C.A. No.-001443-001456 / 2020

Click here to read/download original judgement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *