High Court raps govt on malnourishment case

The High Court of Karnataka on Monday rapped the State Women and Child Welfare department in connection with children’s death due to malnutrition in Raichur district.


A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna, took the State government to task for not releasing funds to provide milk and egg to the undernourished children. 

Usha Patwari, the joint director of the State Women and Child Welfare department, submitted before the court that the Finance department had rejected the proposal citing  paucity of funds. 

The Bench observed: “The State has funds for all other activities and if there is lack of funds, the State should divert the funds kept for other departments.” K M Nataraj, the additional advocate general (AAG), submitted that the Finance department had not rejected the proposed scheme and only sent back the proposal, suggesting certain changes. 

Status quo on hydel project The High Court has extended the status quo order on the mini hydel power project of Maruthi Power Gen (India) Private Limited at Kagneri and Kenchankumari reserve forests of Sakaleshpur Range in Hassan district.

Hearing a petition by Prashant Yavagal, a wildlife enthusiast, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna has extended the status quo order. 

The petitioner had contended that the company had violated several norms which say that if the forestland diversion involves more than five hectares (ha), the proposal has to be sent to the Union government with a recommendation from the State Advisory Group. If the power project is above 25 MW, it needs a mandatory public hearing and Environment Impact Assessment as per the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

The project was divided into 18.9 MW and 19 MW capacities so as to keep them under 25 MW each, the petitioner alleged in his public interest litigation. 

The State Advisory Group too had found that in order to bypass the mandatory guidelines, the company had split the project into two — spread over 4.18 ha and 4.20 ha at Yedakumari village.

During the hearing, the company contended that it has not violated any norms and sought that they be permitted to go ahead with the project. 

However, the Chief Justice said, “Environment conservation must be given first preference.” The status quo was extended till the next hearing and the matter was adjourned by the court. 

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