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Will issue contempt notice if 2013 order not complied with: Bombay HC to state, MoEF

The order was passed after the state government stated in an affidavit that out of 25 gram panchayats in the area, 13 have a forest area of 3,668.81 hectares and 22 gram panchayats are ready to declare their support for the area as an ESA.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
March 16, 2018 4:00:22 am

The Bombay High Court on Thursday warned that it will issue contempt proceedings against the secretary of Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the state government if it found that they have failed to comply with a 2013 order passed by the High Court in a PIL seeking declaring the Sawantwadi-Dodamarg Corridor as an Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA).

A division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice R I Chagla was hearing a petition filed by Awaaz Foundation in 2012, for declaring the Sawantwadi-Dodamarg Corridor, a significant wildlife corridor, as an ESA. An order was passed by a bench of Justice Dr D Y Chandrachud and Justice M S Sonak in 2013, saying, “We now direct that the secretary to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India shall arrange and hold a meeting with the secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the state government, no later than November 1, 2013. The meeting shall be held for sorting out of procedural modalities and formalities to facilitate the declaration of the Sawantwadi-Dodamarg Corridor as an ESA.”

The order was passed after the state government stated in an affidavit that out of 25 gram panchayats in the area, 13 have a forest area of 3,668.81 hectares and 22 gram panchayats are ready to declare their support for the area as an ESA. The bench asked the MoEF and state if they have complied with the order passed in 2013. Lawyer Rui Rodrigues, appearing for the MoEF, told the court that the MoEF had conducted the meeting and decided that the state government would submit the proposal of ESA through ground level study to the MOEF.

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