Top Court Stays Decision Allowing Private Buses In Core Area Of Corbett Tiger Reserve (18-02-2021)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday stayed an order of Jim Corbett National Park allowing buses of a private operator in the core area of the Tiger reserve in Uttarakhand.

A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian issued notice to the Centre, Uttarakhand, National Tiger Conservation Authority, National Board of Wildlife and officials of Jim Corbett National Park and sought their responses.

Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, who filed the petition, told the bench that the decision of the Jim Corbett National Park was in violation of Wildlife Protection Act.

He alleged that forest officials of the State in order to provide wrongful gain to a private sector company has allowed their private buses within the core area of the Tiger reserve.

Mr. Bansal contended that as per provisions of Wildlife Protection Act is required to be kept as inviolate area for the purpose of tiger conservation.

“It is respectfully submitted that Director, Corbett Tiger Reserve vide its Office Order dated December 23, 2020 has allowed buses of a private sector company in the core area of Corbett Tiger Reserve, Uttarakhand”, his plea said.

He said that director of Jim Corbett National Park, while allowing private buses in the core area of the tiger reserve, respondent number-7 (director of Jim Corbett National Park) has not only violated the law of land but has also compromised with the safety, protection and conservation of the national animal “Tiger”.

“It is respectfully submitted that Section 38 (O) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 provides that 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,” the plea said.

Mr. Bansal claimed that in the present case neither the forest officials have taken any approval from National Board for Wildlife nor have taken any advice from National Tiger Conservation Authority.

“It is also important to mention here that recently Wildlife Institute of India also conducted an assessment study wherein it is mentioned that the area in question is home for 19 Tiger's family”, he claimed, adding that movement of buses in the core area is nothing but an act of compromise with the protection and conservation of the national animal.

Mr. Bansal sought quashing of the order of the director of the national park.

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18 Feb 2021