The Karnataka High Court on Friday allowed Isha Foundation to proceed with the unveiling of the 112-ft tall bust of the Adiyogi Shiva statue near Nandi Hills on January 15 [Kyathappa S v The Secretary].
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice PB Varale and Justice Ashok S Kinagi however directed the foundation to maintain status quo in relation to the construction it is carrying out as was ordered on January 11.
Senior Advocate Udaya Holla appearing for the respondents informed the court that the scheduled function is expected to be attended by several top level dignitaries including Vice President Jagdeep Dhankar.
It was his stand that the day and time had already been fixed as per the convenience of the dignitaries. Moreover, he also informed the bench that the consent of the dignitaries with regard to attending the function was taken much prior to the filing of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, on the other hand, appeared for the petitioners and informed the court that while they had no objections with the scheduled program taking place it ought not to not mean that the foundation could carry out construction activity or deforestation.
In response to this, the respondents made an undertaking before the court that none of the alleged deforestation or construction activities will be carried, except arrangements necessary for the January 15 function.
Taking into account the urgency pressed and the undertaking given by the respondents, the Court said that it will only protect their interest by saying that the program can go on as scheduled.
It was stated the January 11 order of status quo will not come in way of the respondents for the purpose of January 15 function.
"The urgency was claimed in light of the function scheduled on 15 January. It is submitted that certain high dignitaries are attending the function. The day & time has been fixed as per their convenience. The consent of these dignitaries was sought for much prior to filing of the petition. To show bona fide, the respondent 16 would not carry out any alleged deforestation, only necessary arrangements. This statement is taking as an undertaking. We deem to appropriate to permit respondent no 6 and clarify that our order from 11 Jan would not come in the way of the scheduled function program on 15 Jan," the Court stated in its order.
The Court then posted the matter for further hearing on February 2 with a note of caution that its January 11 order of status quo will continue to be in operation till the next date.
In the PIL, the petitioner has called into question the proposed construction near Nandi Hills and claimed that he was espousing the cause of the general public with respect to the illegal utilisation and exploitation of the land for the purpose of business.
According to the petitioner, the government has allowed the Isha Yoga Centre to damage the ecosystem in Nandi Hills in violation of environmental laws. It was their stand that this would have a direct impact on the lives of people and wild animals in the area.
[Read Live Coverage of the proceedings]