Updated: February 19, 2021 12:21:52 am
The Supreme Court on Thursday put on hold the Uttarakhand Forest Department’s December 23, 2020 order by which it “allowed” a private motor owners’ association to operate buses in the core area of the Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve.
Hearing a plea by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, a bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian also issued notice to the Centre, the Uttarakhand government, the National Tiger Conservation Authority, National Board of Wildlife and officials of the tiger reserve and sought their responses. “Issue notice. In the meantime, there shall be an interim stay on the implementation of Office Letter dated 23.12.2020 issued by Respondent no. 07 (Director of the Reserve),” the bench ordered.
In his plea, Bansal submitted that the Corbett Tiger Reserve director, through an office order dated December 23 last year, “allowed buses of private sector company to ply within the core area of Corbett Tiger Reserve”. The petitioner stated that this was in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and also compromised with the “safety, protection and conservation of national animal — tiger”.
Bansal contended that as per provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, “Tiger Reserves shall not be diverted for ecologically unsustainable uses, and in case it is required, than it is mandatory for State of Uttarakhand and its Forest Department officials to do the same only after taking approval from National Board for Wildlife and on the advice of National Tiger Conservation Authority.” Bansal added that in the present case, forest officials had neither taken approval from the National Board for Wildlife nor taken advice from National Tiger Conservation Authority.
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