Recently, the Karnataka High Court rejected a writ petition seeking an injunction to prevent Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s Isha Outreach Foundation from obtaining public funds for the “Cauvery Calling Project,” which entails growing tree saplings along the Cauvery river bank.
Facts of the case
The Court had asked Isha Foundation to reveal the amount it had collected for the ‘Cauvery Calling Project’ in January last year after the petitioner filed a PIL on the facts that Isha Outreach Foundation was collecting funds from the public for sapling the plants on government land, which the court later decided to take suo moto.
Arguments from the side of the Petitioner
The petitioner claimed that the defendants wanted to plant 253 crore trees to rescue the Cauvery River and were collecting Rs. 42 per tree from the general people. It had been reported that the entire sum is Rs. 10,626.00 crores, and the collecting of money from the public on the side of respondents was worrisome.
The petitioner went on to say that the respondent could not be allowed to continue and that the state was doing nothing about it.
The petitioner said that another group had also performed tree planting functions on several occasions without charging any fees and that a significant number of organizations were participating in tree planting without charging any fees.
Arguments from the side of the Respondent
According to the respondent, the foundation was supporting the government with its planting campaign. He further stated that one of the grounds cited in the petition was that the foundation was raising funds for the plantation and mobilising farmers to join from the general public. It was to provide them with the saplings of their choice at a subsidized rate for planting.
He further stated that the foundation cannot be faulted since it is a public charitable trust and they are required to report their finances every year.
Observations of the Court
According to the court, the only cure available to save people and the world is afforestation, which the respondents were doing. The Court pointed out that the respondent’s efforts must be acknowledged. The court stated that such activities should be encouraged.
The decision of the Court
The petition was rejected by the court after carefully considering the arguments of both sides and appreciated the efforts and initiative taken by the foundation.
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