The Karnataka High Court on Friday directed the state government to produce all relevant documents relating to the appointment of disqualified Chikkaballapur MLA Dr K Sudhakar as the Chairman of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB).
The direction was issued by a bench comprising Chief Justice AS Oka that was hearing a writ petition filed by one Anjaneya Reddy challenging Dr Sudhakarâ€™s appointment. The matter will be heard again on September 6.
The advocates for the petitioner argued that the appointment was arbitrary and in violation of the Supreme Court directives as K Sudhakar did not possess any special knowledge in respect of environmental matters.
â€śIt was brought to the notice of the court that the due course of the law was not followed during the appointment of the incumbent,â€ť Anjaneya Reddy alleged.
Sudhakar who won on a Congress ticket was one of the 17 MLAs of the former JD(S)-Congress coalition government who had resigned from their positions to pave way for the BJP to form a government in the state.
Sudhakar was appointed as the KSPCB chairman in June by former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy after days of him lobbying for the post with the top rung of his former party.
Prince Isac, the advocate representing Anjaneya Reddy, said, â€śThe Supreme Court in Techi Tagi Tata vs Rajendra Singh Bhandari and others case of 2017 has given a clear instruction to all the state governments to frame rules and guidelines to select chairpersons of Pollution Control Boards within six months. Only the state of Arunachal Pradesh has formed such a rule.â€ť
He added, â€śThis case has nothing to do with Dr Sudhakar being appointed. We would have objected to any other unqualified person being appointed. The SC had also given liberty that any person who is concerned about the enviornment can go to respective HCs and file a writ. In that judgement, it is clearly stated that MLAs, politicians or Chief Secretaries, Environment Secrarteries cannot be appointed as chairpersons of Pollution Control Boards. The court said that Pollution Control Boards are autonomous bodies which should not be controlled by political heads.â€ť
Anjaneya Reddy, a Kolar-based activist was also the petitioner in the Koramangala-Challaghatta (KC) Valley case. He sought a direction from the HC to allow tertiary treatment of sewage water before it is released into tanks in Kolar and Chikkabalapura, to safeguard drinking water sources. The case is still being heard by the HC.