SC asks Bengaluru dist judge to examine disputed coffee plantation land

SC asks Bengaluru dist judge to examine disputed coffee plantation land

Land falls under tiger area, says state government

SC asks Bengaluru dist judge to examine disputed coffee plantation land

 The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked Principal District Judge, Bengaluru to examine a claim by Emerald Haven Estates Ltd that its coffee plantations in about 350 acre did not fall under the Chamarajanagara reserved forest or Tiger reserve area.

The company has claimed that, originally, the property was settled by the former Maharaja of Mysuru in favour of one C W G Morris sometime in the year 1895. The company subsequently acquired the property by virtue of a registered deed of sale in 2007.

"Whether the land falls in the reserved forest or tiger reserve or it was covered under denotified areas, somebody has to examine it," a bench of Justices R F Nariman and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said.

The bench assigned the task to the district judge and gave six months time to send a report.

The court told the company, represented by senior advocates C S Vaidyanathan and Mohan Parasaran, to make its claim before the district judge within four weeks. The court also directed senior advocate Basava Prabhu Patil, appearing for Karnataka government, to make its response over there in four weeks thereafter.

In his submission, Patil contended that 356 acres of coffee plantation of the company fell under the reserved forest and also the tiger reserve area. He challenged a judgement of the High Court of Karnataka of March 16, 2017 that had quashed as void an order issued on October 21, 2016, by Chief Conservator of Forests (Territorial), Chamarajanagar Circle for initiating proceeding for ascertaining the rights of company.

The company countered the state government's claims saying its land fell under the denotified areas.

It claimed Morris had in 1895 converted the land into a coffee plantation and was cultivating coffee and incidental crops. The property was conveyed from time to time by the original grantee and his successors in interest.   The company claimed in the revenue settlement record of rights and in the khata its name has been mutated as the owner of the property. It also contended that it has been regularly paying the taxes as assessed under the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, 1964.