'Budget crunch no excuse for shirking civic duties'

Senior advocate in the High Court of Karnataka Basavaprabhu Hosakeri addresing the gathering at a workshop on 'Public Interest Litigation' organised at Vaikunta Baliga College of Law in Kunjibettu on Thursday.

Senior advocate in the High Court of Karnataka, Basavaprabhu Hosakeri said that financial limitations should not be the defensive argument of civic authorities who fail in discharging their duties.

Speaking at a workshop on ‘Public Interest Litigation’ organized by Human Rights Protection Foundation (HRPF) at Vaikunta Baliga College of Law, Kunjibettu, the veteran advocate said that the civic authorities fail most of the time to perform their duties.

In turn, they offer several defensive claims as reasons for not discharging their responsibilities.

The citizens of Udupi can take a cue from the landmark judgment of 1980 in which the Supreme Court had ordered Madhya Pradesh’s Ratlam municipality to clean a locality, holding that budgetary constraints did not justify a municipality neglecting its statutory obligation to provide sanitation to the residents, he added.

Basavaprabhu said that PIL and representative suits can be filed in the district level courts too, but people have a general notion that PILs can be filed only in High Court and Supreme Court.

“Anybody with public obligations can file the PIL to rectify any sort of public nuisance,” he added and stressed on the need for youth to come forward and fight the injustice.

He added that the petitioner who wants to file a PIL should be aware of the method.

“If the need arises, it is better to seek the help of the Legal Service Authority,” he maintained.

Due to the absence of proper underground drainage system in Udupi city, water in hundreds of wells are contaminated and unfit for drinking.

Despite several reminders from the senior activist like Ravindranath Shanbhag, the civic authority has done nothing. “The civic authority cited budgetary constraints for its inaction. To remove the public nuisance arising out of poor drainage network in the city, filing a PIL is the best way to tackle the negligence,” he said.

“The rapid growth of the city, careless discharge of effluents has polluted the Indrani River that flows inside the city. To restore the river’s glorious past, filing a PIL is the way forward,” he noted.

These two cases of negligence have to be tackled through PILs or representative suits in the court, he added.

 

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