Karnataka HC Flays BBMP, BDA Over Lake Pollution During Shivaratri

Observing that it was not prudent to pollute the environment in the name of worship, the High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday rebuked the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) for allowing construction on the Mallathahalli lake bed during the recent Shivaratri festival.

The Division Bench of Justice B Veerappa and Justice T Venkatesh Naik opined that the civic bodies were primarily responsible for creating litigations.

On Tuesday, petitioner Geetha Mishra filed an interlocutory application in the public interest litigation she had filed against the filling up of the lakebed of Mallathahalli lake in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar Assembly Constituency. She alleged that on Shivaratri an open air theatre and statue of Lord Shiva had been installed on the lakebed.

The BBMP contended that the statue of Shiva was a temporary structure and that it was removed after the festival. The petitioner’s advocate argued that the construction of the idol and the open air theatre resulted in polluted water entering the lake.

The Bench, after considering the arguments of both sides asked why worship should involve polluting the lake.

The Court said that as per Section 12 of the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority ????Act, construction activities on lake beds is not allowed. It asked who had given permission for it.

If civic agencies followed the rules, there would be no reason for litigations to arise. It warned that if pollution was not curtailed future generations would blame us, it said.

The Bench directed the authorities to ensure that apart from the three acres of land under litigation, the remaining 71 acres of the lake are protected and not used for any other purpose.

The Court directed that no individual, politician or association should be allowed to conduct any activity or construction on the lake bed.

It also directed that the kalyani built on the lake should be used for the limited purpose of immersion of Ganesha and Durga idols during the respective festivals only and should be immediately cleaned afterwards, so that polluted water does not enter the lake.

The interlocutory application was disposed of, with the Court stating that the BBMP should strictly implement the provisions of the Lake Conservation Act.

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