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Balance Must Be Struck Between Development & Ecology: Karnataka High Court Dismisses PIL Against Commercial Use Of Kali River Water

Mustafa Plumber
7 Sep 2022 11:35 AM GMT
Balance Must Be Struck Between Development & Ecology: Karnataka High Court Dismisses PIL Against Commercial Use Of Kali River Water
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The Karnataka High Court dismissed a public interest litigation filed by Dandeli Bachao Andolan Samithi, challenging the State's decision to part with water resources of Kali river and permit commercial use by a sugar mill.A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty observed that utilisation of natural resources has to be in a way which is consistent...

The Karnataka High Court dismissed a public interest litigation filed by Dandeli Bachao Andolan Samithi, challenging the State's decision to part with water resources of Kali river and permit commercial use by a sugar mill.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty observed that utilisation of natural resources has to be in a way which is consistent with principles of sustainable development and a balance has to be struck between development and ecology.

"In case, a commercial venture brings in results which are more beneficial for the people, the benefit to a larger section of the people has to get primacy over comparatively lesser hardship. It is trite law that parameters of judicial review are limited to malafide, bias and arbitrariness."

The State and MoEF had granted consent for establishment of sugar mill, in pursuance of which, an agreement was executed between the Company and State's Public Works Department for laying the pipeline for supply of water from Kali River. It was this order, which was under challenge.

The bench noted that setting up of the sugar factory was essential in the area as sizeable quantity of sugarcane crop is grown there, which was being transported by incurring huge expenditure and was causing inconvenience to the farmers.

Further, the water supply needs of Dandeli Town and Haliyal Taluk were taken into consideration and the company did not have an unfettered right to draw water from the river.

It perused from record that permission was granted by various authorities to the company over a period of time and apposite recommendations were submitted by the Secretary to the Government, Industries and Commerce Department who was appointed to visit the place after protests by residents of Village Kesroalli and Dandeli Town.

"It is also evident that residents of Village Hullatti where the factory has been located, has supported the decision of setting up of the factory. The Company has been permitted to draw water from Kali River subject to the condition that water supply to Dandeli and Haliyal is not affected adversely. The aforesaid decision appears to have been taken bonafide in the interest of residents of the locality...The decision has been taken in larger public interest. The sugar factory which has been already set up and functional provides assistance to 50,000 farmers in the backward area of the State who sell sugarcane crops to the factory."

The court also held that the decision taken by the State Government is neither shown to be malafide or arbitrary. Therefore, no interference with the impugned decision can be made in exercise of powers of judicial review.

Case Title: DANDELI BACHAO ANDOLAN SAMITHI v STATE OF KARNATAKA

Case No: W.P. NO.16505 OF 2007

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Kar) 353

Date of Order: 03-09-2022

Appearance: Advocate MADHUSUDHAN R. NAIK, FOR Advocate OMKAR KAMBI for petitioner; AGA PRATHIMA HONNAPURA, FOR R1-R5 & R8-R10; Advocate ASHOK N. NAYAK, FOR R6; Advocate BOREGOWDA D, FOR R7; M/S. SHASTRI & SHASTRI ASSTS FOR R11; Advocate RAVI G. SABHAHIT, ADV., FOR R12; Senior Advocate UDAYA HOLLA, for Advocate VIVEK HOLLA, FOR R13

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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