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Karnataka High Court disposes of PIL seeking study of Bhovi community

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The Karnataka High Court has disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed seeking a direction to the respondent to consider the representations of the petitioner dated 9-05-2022 and for referring the matter to conduct any inquiry to find out the social and economic status and the traditional work carried out by the Bhovi community in Survey No.75 of Meesaganahalli village in accordance with law.

The PIL has been filed by one Lakshmi Venkateshwara Kallu.

Shankarappa, counsel for the petitioner, submitted that the people belonging to Bhovi (Scheduled Caste) community from Meesaganahalli village, Karahalli Grama Panchayath, Kundana Hobli, Bengaluru Rural District, are involved in traditional stone cutting work from time immemorial. They have been doing the work of stone crushing in Sy.No.75 to an extent of 28 acres which belongs to the State Government.

It is also submitted that the State Government shall protect the people belonging to Bhovi community who are involved in traditional stone cutting work which is meant for building construction.

S.S. Mahendra, Additional Government Advocate, on the other hand, contended that quarry lease or licence is required for doing such work on the Government land. Unless quarry lease or licence is granted, nobody can be allowed to involve themselves in stone cutting work.

While considering the PIL, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi held that since the matter relates to the people belonging to a particular community, i.e., Bhovi community, the Court felt it was appropriate for the State Government to consider their grievance and take appropriate decision in accordance with law.

The PIL, as such, is disposed of by the High Court at this stage with liberty to the petitioner to raise their grievance by way of a representation before the state government within 10 days. In case any such representation is made by the petitioner, it is directed by the Court that the state government i.e., the Secretary, Department of Mines and Geology, Bengaluru, shall consider and decide the same in accordance with the law expeditiously.

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