“Survey suggests no turtle nesting on site”: Karnataka High Court junks plea challenging developmental works at Honnavar port

  • Lawbeat News Network
  • 02:34 PM, 25 Nov 2021

Honnavara Taluk Hasimeenu Vyparastara Sangha challenged the developmental activities at the port citing harm to flora & fauna.

 The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a petition which prayed to put an end to the development projects at Honnavar Port.

While hearing the matter, a division bench of Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum said, 

"We cannot keep interfering in such matters which adversely affect the economy of the country."

The petitioners had challenged the lease agreement for the construction ot the port on the ground that the beach on which the port is likely to be constructed is a turtle nesting ground. 

However, this is what the Court said in response to this contention. 

"So far as the contention of the petition that site which has been leased for development of port is nesting areas of turtles is concerned, we have perused the survey conducted by the NCSCM and as per the survey report which is on record no nest, turtles or dead carcass of turtles, were found during survey. However, it is for the concerned authority to ensure that no damage is caused to nesting of turtles and other endangered species found in the area."

This plea also claimed that environmental clearance was granted on September 21, 2012 and was extended on July 1, 2019. Subsequently, an extension on the clearance was never extended. Also, the petition raised concerns stating that the construction of the port is a prohibited activity near the CRZ-1 area.

The counsel for M/S Honnavar Port Pvt Ltd questioned the plea to submit that the present petition has been filed on behalf of certain individual persons who have vested interests. 

"They do not want the port to be constructed. The writ petition is a proxy petition on behalf of certain fishermen and other persons involved in fishing and other related activities,” they said.

The Court was further assured that all necessary approvals have been obtained from the concerned authorities and it is only after necessary survey and other formalities that a decision has been taken to construct the said port at the location. 

The state government also opposed the plea. 

Hearing these submissions, the Court said that the question of location of said port depends on various factors including the requirement and necessity of the port. It is for the experts to determine the location of a port and its requirements, was the view of the Court. 

While disposing of the plea, the Court said, 

"Considering the entire aspect of the matter we dispose of the writ petition with liberty to petitioner to raise his grievance before respondent 5 (Principal Secretary, PWD, Ports and Inland Water Transport department), who may if necessary consider the grievance of petitioner and pass appropriate orders in accordance with law."

Case Name: Honnavara Taluk Hasimeenu Vyparastara Sangha vs M/S Honnavar Port Pvt Ltd