Karnataka govt prepares for legal fight with Centre on Ghats report | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: With uncertainty dogging implementation of the K Kasturirangan Committee report on Western Ghats, the Karnataka government is preparing the legal grounds to take on the Centre in the Supreme Court.
Even as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) hears a case filed against the Union government by Goa Foundation to notify the ecologically sensitive areas (ESA) as proposed in the report, legislators from Uttara Kannada, Kodagu, Shivamogga and parts of Dakshina Kannada have urged the government to prepare for a legal fight if an adverse directive is issued.
“The government told us it’ll invite legislators to discuss the legal way forward to ensure the report is not implemented. We’re waiting for it,” said Virajpet BJP MLA K G Bopaiah. According to the former speaker, the government has no option but to approach the apex court or become a party in the case being fought in the NGT over delay in implementing the report that has been rejected by almost all states along Western Ghats.
“The only option for the government is to approach the Supreme Court or NGT and seek relief,” said Bopaiah.
According to a reply tabled by the Karnataka government at the recently concluded assembly session, the law department has been directed by the cabinet sub-committee studying the report to prepare legal grounds to challenge it.
“As per the decision of the cabinet sub-committee on December 28, 2020, the government has decided to reject the report in its entirety and in the present form. The government has also resolved to prepare the legal grounds for challenging the implementation of the report by the Centre if the NGT directs the Union government to do so,” said the reply.
Sources in the environment and ecology department suggest it’ll consider a legal remedy like filing a special leave petition only if the Centre gets an adverse verdict from the NGT and forces Karnataka to challenge the implementation.
Forest minister Arvind Limbavali reiterated that the government has rejected the report and there’s no question of implementing it. “If required, we’ll fight a legal battle,” he said.
Environment and ecology minister CP Yogeshwar said he’s yet to look into the matter. Additional chief secretary (environment, ecology and forests) Sandeep Dave and law minister Basavaraj Bommai were not available for comment.

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Sagar Biswas

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