Supreme Court issues notice to state government in the Karnangeri Reserve forest encroachment case

Karan Muthanna
Virajpet MLA K G Bopaiah

Deccan Herald is reporting that SC has issued notice against the High Court’s order dismissing their plea against removal of encroachment and illegal occupation of forest land and take action against alleged encroachers, including the Virajpet MLA K G Bopaiah.

The petitioner has claimed that the High Court, had on two occasions previously, expressed its dissatisfaction about the resurvey of the entire 282.55 acres being conducted within a span of two days and sought for an explanation which was not provided by the authorities concerned.

In the Supreme Court, the petitioner, Cauvery Sene has claimed that:

The High Court has also grossly erred in dismissing the writ petition on November 17, 2021 in the absence of the advocate for the petitioner. The HC also refused to review its order.

In the High Court petition, the petitioner had claimed that:

The Forest Department, in its information furnished to the petitioner under the Right To Information (RTI) Act, had disclosed that 68 persons encroached reserve forest lands in survey number 289 of Karnangeri village of Madikeri. However, the Forest Department had not taken any action to clear the encroachments. The petitioner alleged that the encroachers were supported by the Tahsildars and Revenue Department officials by issuing property documents such as Saguvali Chits, Krishi passbooks and Patta books, and making illegal entries in the revenue record.

The petitioner claimed that the Virajpet MLA, K G Bopaiah had built a huge bungalow on 20 cents of land, and information furnished by Madikeri Municipal authorities under RTI revealed that he had obtained Khata for the same. The petitioner claimed that Municipal authorities had said they had no document of granting approval for construction of the bungalow.

The High Court had dismissed the petition on 17th November, 2022 stating that the petition had lost its efficacy as the forest department had taken action against the encroachments after the petition was filed and noting that some defendants who had constructed house in the alleged encroached land had done so on denotified land.

Interestingly, Bopaiah was selected by the state government to head the Anti – Land Grab Panel to  look into encroachment of government properties across the Karnataka State.

In the SC plea, the petitioner is claiming that:

A great prejudice and damage would be caused if the judgment and order passed by the High Court was allowed to be executed as there is an imminent threat to a Reserve Forest Land. There is also a likelihood that the encroachers may create third party rights or alter the nature of construction.

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