The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the State government to file a proper supplementary statement in two weeks explaining whether it had approved the 'Cauvery Calling' project proposed by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev's Isha Foundation.
Additional Advocate General Subramanya R, orally told the court that "What we (State government) have approved is only the proposal of the forest department for raising additional saplings."
He added that the government has filed its supplementary statement of objections, on July 1.
However, a division bench led by Chief Justice Abhay Oka said
"We find that proper documents are not annexed and proper explanation as contemplated by order dated June 11, is not furnished by the state government. Some documents have been annexed without numbering the same as annexures and English translation of Kannada documents are not furnished. Thus we direct the state to file a proper supplementary statement within two weeks from today and serve copies to all parties appearing."
On June 11, the bench had asked the government to explain how 'Isha Outreach' was being allowed to claim the 'Cauvery Calling' as its project, despite accepting the proposal of 'Isha Foundation' to implement the same.
The court also allowed the petitioner to withdraw the rejoinder filed by him dated July 17, in which he made allegations against Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. The court asked him to file his personal affidavit in two weeks time in that regard. The court has now posted the matter for further hearing on August 13.
The bench is hearing the petition filed by advocate A V Amarnathan seeking directions to the foundation not to collect any funds from the public for the Cauvery calling project. As per the petition, the Foundation is planning to plant 253 crores tree saplings across the 639 kilometer stretch of Cauvery river bank from its birth place Talacauvery to Thiruvarur. The Foundation is said to be collecting Rs. 42 per tree planting from the public. That means it is collecting a whooping sum of Rs 253 X 42 in total of Rs, 10,626 crores , which according to the petitioner, is a major scam.
The plea said : "Foundation claims that it has conducted studies regarding the Cauvery Basin. But it ought to have submitted the said report to the State. And the state after deliberating the said studies should have given an approval. But no such process is carried out. The petitioner submit that no private organization can be permitted to carryout any work, on the Government land, without there being a proper approval from the state."
On January 7, the Court had asked Isha Foundation to disclose the amount it has collected for the 'Cauvery Calling Project
The bench had then said "Do not be under the impression that you are not bound by law because you are a spiritual organization."
Later, Isha Foundation told the Court that the project was being dealt with by Isha Outreach.