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Karnataka HC Upholds Decision to Divert Land Reserved for Village Cattle to Waste Disposal Unit

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LI Network

Published on: 18 September 2023 at 11:12 IST

The Karnataka High Court has rejected a public interest litigation challenging the Deputy Commissioner’s decision to allocate 5 acres of gomal land in Soraba Taluka, initially designated for village cattle, for the establishment of a Solid and Liquid Waste Disposal Unit.

In a ruling delivered by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Krishna S Dixit, the court emphasized that gomal land can indeed be repurposed for broader public interests, such as waste management, without violating any legal provisions.

The redirection of government land towards waste management aligns with environmental and ecological interests.

The court acknowledged that any such project inevitably carries certain costs. However, it stressed the need to assess these costs in relation to the significant benefits the project would offer.

While acknowledging that gomal lands serve the purpose of village cattle, the court highlighted that authorities, relying on accumulated data and expertise, made the decision to allocate 5 acres of land for a waste processing unit.

The court emphasized that the public interest served by these waste management facilities outweighed the prior reservation of the land for cattle and other purposes.

The petitioners had argued that initially, only 2 acres of land were designated for the waste disposal unit, and the subsequent order was passed without a proper assessment of its environmental impact. They contended that the extensive 5-acre allocation would adversely affect the rural population’s cattle.

In response, the State argued that the previous 2-acre allocation proved insufficient, necessitating the expansion. They asserted that the establishment of a dry and wet waste management unit served a substantial public interest that outweighed any potential negative consequences.

The bench concurred with the government’s argument, pointing out that population growth results in the expansion of towns and settlements, leading to an increased generation of dry and wet waste. Thus, the authorities, in their wisdom, chose to allocate 5 acres for the waste processing unit.

The court emphasized that it should not hastily assume that every project of this nature would have detrimental environmental impacts. It underscored that these decisions are entrusted to the executive branch’s discretion.

In light of these considerations, the court dismissed the public interest litigation.