Revenue status for forest: Karnataka to move SC

Revenue status for forest: Karnataka to move SC

The Supreme Court has granted two weeks' time to the state government to file a Special Leave Petition (SLP) against the Karnataka High Court order upholding the revenue land status of a huge chunk of forest land in Tumakuru district.

An area of 323.88 hectares of reserved forest in Chikkanayakanahalli was declared revenue land through an order passed in December 2015 by the then Additional Chief Secretary, Madan Gopal.

An NGO - Samaja Parivartana Samudaya – challenged the order, which benefited several mining companies. The Central Empowered Committee (CEC), constituted by the Supreme Court, took serious note of the order and the state government conceded the error committed by Madan Gopal and assured to restore the forest land. In June 2018, the then additional chief secretary reversed the order passed by Madan Gopal in 2015. The mining companies challenged the order before the Karnataka High Court.

A notification under Section 4 of the Karnataka Forest Act was issued on August 4, 1994, proposing to declare land in Janeru block (Jaaneharu village) of Chikkanayakanahalli taluk as reserved forest. Notification declaring the extent of 323.88 hectares in survey numbers 41, 42, 43 as reserved forest was published in the Gazette on October 31, 1996.

"The High Court on November 16, 2018, set aside the order passed to restore the forest land. This means, the notifications under the Karnataka Forest Act issued in 1994 and a corrigendum issued in 2014 adding more survey numbers to forest land are no longer in existence,’’ an activist said.

During the hearing on January 24, the state government said it was proposing to file an SLP challenging the High Court order. "The state is granted two weeks’ time to file the special leave petition,’’ the court said.