BENGALURU: The Karnataka High Court has directed the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to conduct workshops to educate and train its officials with the assistance of the Environment Law Centre and National Law School of India University on initiating criminal proceedings under the Air and Water Act.
The court also directed the KSPCB chairman to place on record the topics covered along with the material distributed in the workshops within three months. Justice Suraj Govindaraj passed the order while allowing the petition filed by BV Byre Gowda, proprietor of Chennakeshava Stone Crushers at Beera Halli village of Hosakote taluk, challenging the validity of the criminal proceedings against him pending before the Magistrate. The proceedings were based on the complaint filed by Deputy Environment Officer (DEO) of KSPCB under the provisions of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act.
Though the court quashed the proceedings as well as the cognizance of the offences taken by the Magistrate in 2015 due to procedural lapses, as the complaint was filed by the DEO without prior approval of the chairman, it reserved liberty for the board to initiate fresh proceedings by following applicable law.
Considering that the certification of the complaint made by the DEO of KSPCB, is contrary to law, the court directed the chairman to initiate action against the DEO and other officials who are responsible for filing such a defective complaint.