In a reprieve for the government, the Supreme Court Friday lifted its order that restrained the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) from executing any decision taken by it. The court agreed to vacate the three-month-long restraint order after it was informed that the Board had been reconstituted to accommodate adequate independent expert members.
The order is likely to pave way for progress of more than 100 projects that were cleared by the NBWL but were left in the lurch owing to the court’s order in August. These projects, according to the officials, would need a re-affirmation from the reconstituted Board.
The NBWL, chaired by the Prime Minister, is the apex body under the Wildlife Protection Act to review all wildlife-related matters. Its standing committee, headed by the Union Environment Minister, is empowered to appraise all projects that fall within or around national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and tiger reserves. In August, the Green Bench of the SC questioned the validity of its formation and restrained the NBWL from executing any decision taken by it, thereby putting on hold more than 100 projects cleared.
The bench had said: “We are of the view that the same (the notification altering the constitution of the NBWL in the impugned manner) was not issued in consonance of the Section 5A of the Wildlife Protection Act.”