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A Balance Must Be Struck Between Development & Ecology: Karnataka High Court

Karnataka High Court dismissed public interest litigation challenging the State’s decision to part with the water resources of Kali River and permit commercial use by a sugar mill. This was seen in the case of DANDELI BACHAO ANDOLAN SAMITHI v. STATE OF KARNATAKA (Writ Petition Number 16505 of 2007) and the judgement was presided by a division bench of acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty.

Facts of the case-

The State and MoEF consented to the establishment of a sugar mill, in pursuance of which, an agreement was executed between the Company and the State’s Public Works Department for laying the pipeline for the supply of water from Kali River. This order was challenged by Dandeli Bachao Andolan Samithi, challenging the State’s decision.

Judgement by the court-

The court noted that setting up of the sugar factory was important in the area as a considerable quantity of sugarcane crop is grown there, which was being
transported by incurring huge expenditure and was inconvenient to the farmers working there. Further, the court observed that the water supply requirements of Dandeli Town and Haliyal
Taluk was taken into consideration and the company did not have an absolute right to draw water from the river.

It was further said by the court that it is evident that residents of Village Hullatti where the factory has been located, have supported the decision of setting up the factory. The court also held that the decision taken by the State Government is neither malafide nor arbitrary. Hence, no interference with the impugned decision can be made in the exercise of powers of judicial review.

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Judgement reviewed by Alaina Fatima.

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