The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday, January 11, passed an interim order directing to maintain the status quo at the Avalagurki village near Bengaluru, where the unveiling of the 112 feet Adiyogi Shiva statue.
The opening of a centre of Jaggi Vasudev’s Isha Foundation was scheduled to be held on Sunday.
Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai are slated to attend the unveiling ceremony. A petition alleging that a commercial venture was being established in an ecologically sensitive area was being heard in court. The bench noted that it will hear the case on Friday, and the interim order will be in effect until then.
The state, the yoga centre, and 14 other respondents received notices from a division bench led by Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale ordering a stay to all activity in the region till Friday. The delay was implemented in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) that claimed the government had improperly assigned land for a commercial venture and that it was being established in an ecologically sensitive area.
Kyathappa S and a few other villagers from the Chikkaballapura taluk, which is close to the Nandi Hills and where the yoga centre is located, filed the PIL. Among the 16 respondents in the lawsuit are the Karnataka government, the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, the Isha Yoga Centre in Coimbatore, and the Union Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Ecology.
In addition to demographic pressure brought on by the movement of vehicles and people, the petitioners claimed that a gathering of around five lakh people would result in irreversible damage to flora and fauna.
Previously, the court had given the petitioners permission to amend their case to add new reasons for contesting the March 6, 2019, order that had allowed the state government to approve the acquisition of 83 acres and 28 guntas of land for the Isha Yoga Center for educational purposes.
According to the PIL, the authorities permitted flagrant violations in the destruction of the ecosystem, watershed, and NDB Foothills in Chikkaballapura Hobli in order to create a private foundation at the behest of Jaggi Vasudev of the Isha yoga to establish commercial activities in the hillock’s central area.
The petitioners claim that the Narasimha Devaru Range (Betta) foothill ecosystem, environment, and natural rainwater streams, water bodies, and water feeder streams were destroyed and defaced in violation of environmental laws, directly affecting the livelihood of cattle, sheep, and other domestic and wild animals in the Nandi Hills area.
The Nandi Hills, which would be impacted, are where the rivers north Pinakini and south Pinakini are said to originate. It further claims that the Isha Yoga Center brought a metal idol of Lord Shiva and put it together overnight, defacing the landscape in the process.