The Karnataka High Court has directed the Karnataka State Board for Wildlife to once again consider the proposal to declare the 5,010-acre grasslands in Hesaraghatta as a Conservation Reserve. The Board rejected the proposal in January 2021. Environmentalists challenged this. On July 29, the court quashed the order of the Board and directed it to consider the matter again.
The division bench of Acting Chief justice Alok Aradhe and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty was hearing a batch of petitions by environmentalists who sought the quashing of the decision taken by the Karnataka State Board for Wildlife on January 19, 2021.
The Board, which had MLA of Yelahanka constituency S R Vishwanath as a special invitee had rejected the proposal to declare the Hesaraghatta Grasslands comprising 5,010 acres as a Conservation Reserve. The court said that the Board “has passed the order in a cryptic and cavalier manner without adverting to the relevant criteria as prescribed in Section 36A of the (Wild Life Protection) Act.”
Further castigating the Board’s order, the court said, “The impugned order reflects non-application of mind. Therefore, since it is cryptic and since it suffers from the vice of non-application of mind, the same cannot be sustained in the eye of the law. It is accordingly quashed.”
The petitioners had contended that the Hesaraghatta region situated in Bengaluru ”is of ecological significance and requires protection. The region forms a unique ecosystem and supports numerous species of flora and fauna, many of which are endangered.”
The Chief Conservator of Forests, Bengaluru had filed a detailed report with the Board to consider and declare Hesaraghatta Grasslands as Greater Hesaraghatta Grasslands Conserve Reserve citing that it was the only remaining grassland region in Bengaluru.