The High Court of Karnataka has today asked the State Government to explain how after accepting the proposal of Isha Foundation to implement the Cauvery Calling project, it is allowing Isha Outreach to claim it as its project.
While hearing a petition against Cauvery calling project of Isha Foundation, the Court asked the Government if they are prepared to issue a notification that Isha Foundation or anybody else will not collect funds from anyone in the name of Cauvery calling project.
Chief Justice Abhay Okay stated that the the situation seems like a clear coverup and the State government should not get influenced by the fact that some influential people are involved in this project
The counsel on behalf of the State, Vijaykumar Patil informed the court that the proposal of Isha Foundation that was submitted to the state was not accepted by the government, and the State had accepted the proposal of Department of Forest.
The Court objected the statement of the State Counsel since it was in complete contradiction to the State’s submission made in the Statement of Objection that was filed. According to the Statement of objection filed by the State, the draft project proposal of Isha Foundation was deliberated and discussed and the government had made proposal to Department of Forest to take up the project.
The Court has allowed impleadment application filed by Isha Foundation and has directed the petitioner AV Amarnath to implead Isha outreach as respondent, as it is the entity which is implementing the project
The Karnataka High Court had in January this year, directed the Isha Foundation, led by Jaggi Vasudev (Sadghuru), to disclose details of money collected for the Cauvery Calling project and also the manner in which it was collected, stating that even spiritual organisations are bound by law.
The Court had also expressed displeasure regarding no specification of name of the authorised signatory and if the collection of funds was voluntary or not in the statement of objections that was filed by the foundation. When the foundation’s counsel had contended that the foundation was only creating awareness among public, especially farmers, about the environment through the project, the Court had stated that even though the cause was good, people cannot be forced to pay money. The bench had also questioned the Foundation regarding why there was no enquiry about the money being collected by the foundation.
Isha Foundation had then filed a memo before the Karnataka High Court stating that it was not dealing with or managing the Cauvery Calling project. It also added that the Cauvery Calling Project which was subject of the writ petition was entirely being looked after and managed by Isha Outreach which is an independent entity and should be impleaded as an additional respondent.
-India Legal Bureau