Bengaluru: Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed Isha Yoga Centre to maintain status quo on its construction activity. The centre is currently carrying construction near Nandi Hills in Karnataka. This direction comes in the wake of inauguration of the 112 feet Adiyogi Shiva statue. The inauguration coincides with the opening of a centre of Jaggi Vasudev’s Isha Foundation at Chikkaballapur. The IYC might have to alter the schedule of the event. The Isha Foundation told UNI that it would issue a statement after tomorrow’s hearing.
Interestingly, the Madras High Court had dismissed a similar petition against Isha Foundation. The HC had observed that it is an educational institute. It engages in group development activities and operates a yoga centre. Therefore, it is entitled to the exemption granted by the central government. Isha Yoga Centre is exempted from prior environmental clearance for construction activities.
Authorities had given Isha Foundation a show cause notice. They are alleging that, while carrying out building work, it had not obtained the necessary environmental clearance. IYC requires such clearance by the Union government’s Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006.
Karnataka High Court Divisional Bench comprising Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Ashok S Kinagi has issued the order. The bench gave the order while hearing a public interest litigation filed by S Kyathappa and others.
IYC damaged Environment?
The petitioners allege that the authorities have allowed the Isha Yoga Centre to destroy and deface entire ecosystem. They have damaged environment and natural rain water streams. Moreover, IYC has damaged water bodies, water feeder streams in foot hills of Nandi Hills and Narasimha Devaru Range in NDB. This is in utter violation of environmental laws. And, it has direct impact on the living, livelihood, cattle, sheep, forest animals, in the region.
The petitioners alleged that the authorities are keeping quiet and it indicates the command and influence of Isha Yoga Centre in this regard. They also alleged that Deputy Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner, Tehsildar, Chikkaballa-pura Urban Development Authority have passed illegal orders contrary to the statutes to favour Isha Yoga Centre.
The petitioners also sought records of land in Avalagurki and a direction for initiation of appropriate proceedings for protection of the Nandi Hill range. They also sought direction against Isha Yoga Centre to or proceed with defacing, damaging the ecosystem, terrain of the Hill range in Avalagurki.