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Inquiry necessary to find out if Isha Foundation raised money from public by projecting ‘Cauvery Calling’ as govt project: Karnataka High Court

The petition alleged that as part of the project, Isha Foundation was planting saplings on government land and collecting money for the same from the public.

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday opined that an inquiry might be necessary to ascertain whether or not Jaggi Vasudev’s Isha Foundation collected funds from public by projecting “Cauvery Calling” project as a government venture.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice SS Magadum made this remark after Isha Outreach informed the Court that it had put out a clarification on its website stating that Cauvery Calling is not a government project.

The clarification reads as follows:

“The Cauvery Calling project is an initiative by Isha Outreach. It is not a project by the Government of Karnataka. 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.”

The Bench was, however, not fully satisfied with the same noting that the clarification was not prominent visible on the website.

“See how it is published on the website. It must be more prominent,” The Bench remarked.

The Court was hearing a plea seeking directions to Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev’s Isha Foundation to not collect funds from the public for its Cauvery Calling project.

The project involves steps to to revitalize the dried up rivers.

The petition alleged that as part of the project, Isha Foundation was planting saplings on government land and collecting money for the same from the public.

The plea raised the issue of government allowing its land to be used by a private organisation for planting saplings, without studying the pros and cons of the project.

The petitioner further argued that the “collection of money from public is disturbing” as Isha Foundation is expected to collect a massive ₹10,626 crore as donation.

During the hearing on Tuesday, the counsel appearing for the State government sought more time to place on record its stand on the Cauvery Calling project.

The matter has been posted for hearing next on March 8.

Via Bar & Bench
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