The Karnataka High Court on Saturday ordered issue of notice to the State government on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition challenging the grant of about 8,932 acres of gomal (grazing) land in Chitradurga district to various defence and scientific research organisations.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed the order on the petition filed by the All-India Kissan Sangha and others challenging the grant of land in 2009 to the Indian Institute of Science, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Defence Research and Development Organisation, Indian Space Research Organisation, and two agencies of the State government.

The petitioners contended that there were about 14,000 acres of Amruth Mahal Kaval/gomala land in different survey numbers of Varavu Kaval, Ullarti Kaval and Khudapura villages of Challakere taluk in Chitradurga district. They claimed that about 8,932 acres of this had been granted to those organisations without following procedures and violating provisions of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act.

They contended that the local residents depended on rearing of sheep, goat and cattle for their livelihood, for which these areas were earmarked.

It was pointed out that they were unable to depend entirely on agriculture for a living as it was a drought-prone area.

The Bench asked counsel for the government to seek instruction from the authorities on whether any land was being left as gomal and pointed out that the interests of local residents need not be ignored.

Vacancy

The Bench ordered issue of notice to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology on a PIL petition seeking a direction to fill the vacancy of the Chairperson of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal, New Delhi.

The petitioner, Rajendra Prasad Yadav of Bangalore, pointed out that as the post had been vacant since June 30, 2011, the tribunal was unable to take up appeals filed on the orders passed by officers at the State level under the provisions of the Information Technology Act.

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