The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police of Chikmagalur district to appear before it on April 13 in connection with alleged illegal sand extraction from the river-beds of the Hemavati.
A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, passed the order during the hearing on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition, which alleged that mechanised equipment and boats were being used for extracting sand from the basin of the river in Mudigere taluk despite a ban on using such equipment.
When the government counsel informed that mechanised equipment were allowed only for loading purposes, but machines were not permitted for sand extraction, the Bench orally asked why the government could not totally ban the use of machines. However, government counsel pointed out that there was a dearth of manual labour in this sector.
Meanwhile, the Bench adjourned till April 11 the hearing on a PIL plea, filed by a group of eminent Kannada litterateurs, challenging the government's decision to merge government primary and secondary schools with a strength of less than five students with other government schools within a radius of 3 km.
When the petition came up for hearing, Additional Advocate-General K.M. Nataraj informed the court that the government was unable to proceed owing to the status quo order issued by the court in December last year. He said the government wanted early hearing of the petition, while pointing out that the next academic year would commence from June 1.