Karnataka HC reserves Order In Plea Against ‘Cauvery Calling Project’

Karnataka HC - Kauvery calling project - law insider

Shivangi Prakash –

Published on: September 2, 2021, at 17:16 IST

Karnataka High Court postponed its decision on a plea filed by counsel A V Amarnathan, which was later taken up as a suo-moto appeal, asking the Court to direct the Isha Outreach foundation not to collect contributions from the public for the Cauvery Calling initiative.

During the hearing, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum verbally questioned whether planting trees on government land was prohibited.

The Bench asked, “Is there any law which restrains a citizen from planting a tree on government land?”.

During the hearing, the Court also remarked “I don’t understand one thing that how the plantation being done is harming others.”

Senior Advocate Uday Holla, arguing for the respondent, stated that the Cauvery calling project is not a project of the State of Karnataka, as stated on the Foundation’s official website.

Even the state administration has stated that the project is not government-sponsored and that no government-owned land is being used for the plantation.

The charity is aiding the government with its tree-planting campaign.

Amicus Curiae, Advocate B V Vidyullatha informed the Court about a special leave plea filed by Isha Outreach in the Supreme Court, contesting the High Court’s decision to take the case to suo-motu.

In light of the forthcoming petition, Vidyulatha requested permission to present arguments. The Court granted her permission to continue.

It was also mentioned that the Cauvery calling project has been alleged to be planting trees on forest territory without obtaining authorization.

One of the points she raised was what happens to the money raised from the public when the state government bears the financial burden and the foundation raises funds from the public at the same time.

To which the Bench said, “If I say my expenses will be borne by the government, does it mean anything unless there is an order of the government?”

The State Government further told the Court that the Cauvery calling was not a project of theirs. “Suppose it is forest land and I am planting a teak or sandalwood tree, will that be an offence?” the Court asked the lawyers again.

According to the Amicus, there is no bar in any act that she is aware of.

In response the bench orally observed, “We should promote these activities.” 

Also Read: Friend of the Court (Amicus Curiae)

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