The Karnataka High Court
on Tuesday, 2nd February, 2021 allowed the request for time made by the state government to comply with the court order directing it to make its stand on the question whether it has any connection with the project called Cauvery Calling
and whether the second and third respondents (Isha Foundation/Isha Outreach) are involved in the project of the State Government.
It is necessary that the State Government must make its stand very clear by filing an affidavit and by making a clear statement on the question. It was stated, "Though the second respondent, six months prior to filing of the second statement of objections by the State Government, had taken a stand that it is not involved in any such project and infact in the memo, it is stated that the second respondent is engaged in propogation of Yoga, Meditation etc." During the hearing, the counsel appearing for Isha Outreach informed the court that the respondent has published on its website a statement saying that the Cauvery Calling project is an initiative of Isha Outreach and that a memo would be filed on the next date to place the same on record.
"The second statement of objections by the State Government on 12th August 2020 is filed six months after the memo was filed by the second respondent. But the State Government wants to say that the second respondent is involved in an existing project.", the counsel added.
In its last order, the court had asked if the Government was willing to make a statement that 'Cauvery Calling' was not a government project. If they are involved in any project, the State Government must file necessary document in support. It is also clarified that the saplings planted as a part of the Cauvery Calling project are planted in the lands belonging to farmers and not in Government lands. A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum granted the request made by the state government seeking time to file its affidavit. The statement published on the website reads thus: The Cauvery Calling project is an initiative by Isha Outreach. It is pertinent to note that in paragraph-6, it is tried to be contended that the statement is made in paragraph-4 of the earlier statement of objections regarding acceptance of the proposal of the second respondent is in respect of the proposal of the Forest Department. It is not a project by the Government of Karnataka.
In the petition it is claimed that the foundation is planning to plant 253 crores tree saplings across the 639 kilometer stretch of Cauvery river bank from its birthplace Talacauvery to Thiruvarur. It would collect Rs.42 per tree planting means a total of Rs, 10,626 crores which is a major scam according to the petitioner.