TG Halli crisis: High Court appoints amicus curiae
Garima Singh- Indicating that some illegal construction in the protected zones of Thippagondanahalli (TG Halli) reservoir catchment area may have to be demolished, the Karnataka High Court said that the state government has to make serious efforts to protect the interests of the people who are supplied with the drinking water from the reservoir. Also, the court appointed senior advocate Sajjan Poovaiah as amicus curiae to assist the court in arriving at a solution, both for removal of illegal structures put up in violation of zoning regulations issued in 2003, and also to protect the interests of deserving persons, as large number of residential buildings have come up in the protected zones.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice D.H Waghela and Justice Budhilal R.B. made these observations while hearing a public interest litigation petition. The bench said it would adopt a positive approach to find a solution to the crisis, but made it clear that the certain buildings may have to be demolished. It is more important to protect the interests of lakhs of people whose lives are linked to water supplied from TG Halli reservoir that those of a few thousand who have violated law, the Bench said. The bench said that the government has created a crisis with its July 24 notification through which it removed all protected zones declared through a notification issued in 2003. The notification appears to have been issued to ‘protect the skin of the officials’ who allowed illegal structures in the protected zones, the bench added.
Under Section 17 of the Environment Protection (EP) Act, the officials can be prosecuted for violating laws related to protection of environment. The EP Act recommends imprisonment of upto five years with a fine, which may be extended to Rs.1 lakh in case of conviction. The July notification was stayed during the last hearing.
 Special Correspondent, TG Halli crisis: High Court appoints amicus curiae, The Hindu, 3 (December 13, 2014).