The Karnataka High Court on Friday directed the State government to maintain status quo on the nature of 347 acres of grasslands near Hessaraghatta lake at Kodihalli village in Doddaballapur taluk. The land has been identified for setting up ‘Chitra Nagari’, a film city and theme park on the lines of the Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.
A Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice K. Sreedhar Rao and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed the interim order while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by M/s Arkavathi-Kumudavathi Nadi Punaschetana Samithi.
The samiti contended in its petition that Hessaraghatta lake was a main feed-lake of the Arkavati, any so, development on land in survey numbers 82, 83, 92, 94, 95, 98, 99, 97, 100 and 101 of Kodihalli would severely affect the biodiversity.
Quoting studies conducted by experts in agricultural ornithology from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, the petitioner pointed out that besides many rare plant varieties, several endangered species of birds, reptiles and mammals had also been sighted in and around these lands. Birds such as short-toed snake eagle, lesser florican and species of harrier, as well as the slender loris, were among the animals found there.
The petitioner has sought a direction to the State government to declare these government-owned grasslands, which are classified as gomal land, as “protected area” for preserving endangered species, protecting groundwater level and maintaining inflow into the lake.
While hearing a PIL petition initiated suo motu about the “mysterious” death of B.N. Bramarambhika, who was a fourth semester law student of Seshadripuram Law College, the Bench disposed of the petition after the investigation and post-mortem report filed by the Chickballapur Superintended of Police disclosed that it was case of suicide by hanging and not a case of “honour killing” as alleged by some of her classmates.
The young woman died on May 20, 2012.
The court had initiated the PIL petition based on a letter written by the students to a sitting judge of the High Court suspecting that Bramarambika, a resident of Chickballapur could have become a victim of “honour killing”. The police, who exhumed the body and subjected it to post-mortem upon the court’s direction, ruled out that possibility.