The Karnataka High Court issued notice to the State Government on a public interest litigation filed by a five-month-old infant, seeking a ban on traffic within and through Cubbon Park in Bengaluru.
A division bench of Justice B.V. Nagarathna and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy heard the petition. The petitioner is an infant, who is a regular visitor to the park for the last few months, and his family have been regular visitors to the park for the last few decades.
The petition filed through Advocates Anjan Dev Narayana and Advocate Annapoorna Seetharam states that as per the National Disaster Management Authority guidelines, the Department of Horticulture shut down the Park from access by the general population from March 25, 2020 till May 20, 2020.
It was submitted that the park was originally created in 1870 and has a rich history of abundant flora and fauna plantations integrating thickets of trees, massive bamboos, with grassy expanse and flowerbeds along with monuments and heritage buildings. Identifying the same, the Government of Karnataka passed the Karnataka Government Parks Preservation Act, 1975 to preserve the uniqueness and the horticulture of the park under which the park is protected at present.
The plea states that the actions of the respondents have a direct impact on the health, well-being and quality of life of the petitioner, who as an infant is made to bear the burden of the environmentally irresponsible respondents.
Further, it is said that the action of respondents impinge on the rights of the petitioner to enjoy pollution-free air and water and endangers and impairs his quality of life and is a clear derogation of his constitutional rights.
The High Court issued notice directing the respondents to file their statement of objections. The Court though refused to grant any interim relief as prayed by the petitioner’s counsel. The Court said granting of interim relief would amount to final order.
The State Government by an order dated September 8, 2020 directed the Department of Horticulture to open the parks within its jurisdiction. Following which, the Cubbon Park Traffic Police issued a letter requesting the Deputy Director of the Department of Horticulture to open the park to traffic.
Earlier, the Cubbon Park Walkers Association had filed a PIL seeking directions that the government consider the recommendations made by the Directorate of Urban Land Transport which had suggested stopping vehicular traffic inside the park.
The Court had disposed of the said matter on October 22, 2020 with directions to the State to consider the said recommendations and take a decision on the same within a period of six weeks from the date of judgment.