|Case No.||W.P No. 31017-018/2013||Date of Filing||15/07/2016||Status||Pending||Petitioners||M/s Brigade Enterprises Limited and Mr. Suresh Yadwad Impleading applicant - D.V. Girish||Respondents||State of Karnataka Deputy Commissioner Chikmangalur District Ceputy Conservation of Forests Chikmangalur District The Principal Secretary to Government Department of Forest Ecology and Environment|
This is a petition in which CLPR is representing a wildlife conservationist Mr. D.V. Girish, who has filed an application to implead in the matter. Brigade Enterprises Limited is a developer company which was granted a lease of 34 acres of land in Arsinaguppe village in 2004 for the purpose of construction of resorts and villas to attract high end luxury tourists. This land is located in close proximity with the Bhadra Tiger Reserve, Charchedudda State Forest and Kanchenahalli Reserve Forest. Even the land which is leased is sought to be notified by the Karnataka State Government as a reserved forest and a draft Notification in this regard was already issued on 05.03.2003. The allotted land is an ecologically sensitive area which has rich endemic flora and fauna. The land also sustains several endangered birds such as falcons, kestrel, black eagle, pipets and fauna such as tigers, leopards, gaur sambha, muntjac. Thus any construction of tourist resorts would be in clear violation of the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and the Environmental Protection Act, 1963.
Based on a complaint by D.V. Girish, the Deputy Commissioner, Chikmangalur district examined the complaint and after hearing all parties, passed an order dated 08.11.2011 terminating the lease granted in favour of Brigade Enterprises Limited. It is this cancellation order that is being challenged in this petition by Brigade Enterprises.
The Impleading Applicant is a wildlife conservationist who has undertaken several outreach and educational activities in order to protect forests and wildlife in the Bhadra region.
This petition was heard on 13th June 2017 and on this date, the Karnataka High Court passed an order recording an undertaking given by Brigade Enterprises Limited that it would not proceed with any further construction on the leased land. The Court also directed that the State Government is not debarred from issuing the required notification to deem the allotted land to be “forest land” under the Karnataka Forest Act, 1963 while the case is still pending. It was also recorded that the Application for Impleading D.V. Girish would also be considered when the matter is finally heard.
The matter was heard again on 31.05.2022, wherein the High Court of Karnataka dismissed the challenge to the cancellation of the lease deed as the private enterprises did not have an invincible legal right of the lease even as per the lease agreement, and the State’s proposal of converting the leased land into the reserved forest is legal and valid. This order will ensure that the eco-sensitive zone in Chikmagalur will continue to be preserved.