SC refuses to hear plea for removal of resort on forest land

SC refuses to hear plea for removal of resort on forest land

SC refuses to hear plea for removal of resort on forest land

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a plea by an NGO for removal of a resort built on forest land in Chikkamagaluru district.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice T S Thakur told advocate Jayna Kothari, appearing for the Centre for Law and Policy Research, that the apex court could not be asked to ensure implementation of the direction of the High Court.
Kothari contended that despite the Karnataka High Court’s direction on September 22 last year, the encroachment on seven acres of forest land in the district had not been cleared.

She submitted that the High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the encroachment and passed a direction for its removal.

“If there is already a direction from the High Court go over there and say that the order has not been implemented,” the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri and R Banumathi, told her, dismissing the petition.

According to advocate Balaji Srinivasan, appearing for respondent Satish Gowda, there was no resort on the said land.

‘House in agri land’

He claimed that Gowda, a wildlife warden, had only constructed a house in an area of 80x80 feet in his own agricultural land.

The remaining part of the land is being used for organic farming and rearing of poultry, cattle and goat, paddy land and for a fish pond.

“We have not used a single inch of forest land or the stream. Basically, the petitioners are against Gowda, since he displaced one person from the petitioner team to become a wildlife warden. This fight led to an article in a newspaper to put pressure on the executive which has resulted in the public interest litigation,” he claimed.

Resort in forest area

Gowda was accused of constructing the resort at a cost of Rs two crore in flagrant violation of wildlife laws.

Situated between Bhadra Protected Forest and Masagali Reserve Forest, the construction was alleged to have been raised without obtaining any permission/no-objection certificate from the Forest department or district administration.