HC chides advocates for frivolous PILs, levies Rs 75,000 as cost

 Entertaining public interest litigations (PIL) have cost the City advocates dearly. Chiding the advocates for taking up petitions styling as PILs, the High Court, while observing that “this will not bring them any credibility” levied a total cost of Rs 75,000 on the advocates in three different PILs.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela  and Justice B V  Nagarathna, hearing a petition from Dharwad Growth Centre Industries Association with co-petitioners (all Dharwad based advocates) B D Hiremath, D S Kalmath, Suresh P Hudedagaddii, seeking cancellation of environment clearance to Goa Minerals for setting up a sponge iron unit at Belur Industrial Area, Mammigatty, dismissed the same with a cost of Rs 40,000 payable to Karnataka Legal Services Authority.

The petitioners had contended that the grant of 60 acres land to the unit by Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) was a violation as the board could not allot huge tracts of land in the industrial area where smaller units co-existed.

They further claimed that the industry violated environment norms.

The counsel for respondents pointed out that  KIADB can make bulk allocation of land in exceptional cases, while matter pertaining to environment pollution should be heard by National Green tribunal (NGT).

Likewise, hearing another petition, seeking eviction of Shankarappa Gowda, a native of Hosanagara village from Triniave Reserve Forest, Hosanagar, Shimoga district, which claimed that he was illegally cultivating the forest land, the Bench dismissed the petition levying a cost of Rs 25,000.

Further, dimissing a petition by Gopinath who sought CBI inquiry into the land acquisition by Karnataka Housing Board at Kallur village, near Mysore, the Division Bench levied a cost of Rs 10,000 directing that the cost be paid to the KHB. 

The Bench dimissed the plea, following government counsel R Devdas’ submission that the petitioner himself was an advocate and there was no public interest involved in the matter. According to the petitioner, the KHB, on instance of MLA G T Devegowda in 2011 (when he was Chairperson of KHB) had acquired 250-300 acres and had fixed a compensation of Rs 35 lakh per acre, while the prescribed guidance value of the land was around Rs one lakh.

Online voting

The High Court, on Tuesday, dismissed a petition seeking to introduce online voting system in the country so that voters outside the country will not be deprived of their voting rights.

The petitioner, K Ravindranath, had sought directions to Chief Electoral Officer, Election Commission of India and others to make voting mandatory and  introduction of online voting.

However, the division benc,h comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice  B V Nagarathna, dismissed the petition stating that the court cannot interfere with the matter, as it cannot issue orders to Parliament.

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