HC asks for project report on night safari proposal

 
Hearing a petition by B R Deepak, a City-based advocate and party in person, who had sought directions to the State to withdraw the decision passed in the State Cabinet in connection with the night safari, the division bench headed by Justice V Gopala Gowda also directed the State to file a counter affidavit in this regard.

The petitioner had submitted that the decision to start a night safari is a violation of Article 35 (6) of Wildlife Protection Act. “Under this, no person shall destroy, exploit or remove any wildlife from a national park or destroy or damage or divert the habitat of any wild animal,” he said.

He said that Bannerghatta, being a national park spread across 25,000 hectares (104 sq kms), is home to animals like elephant, sloth bears, wild dogs, leopard and other mammals that are listed in Schedule One of the Indian Wildlife Act 1972.  He said the park, a mix of thorny, scrub, dry and moist deciduous patches is also home to 215 species of birds, 150 species of butterflies and 20 species of snakes and over 250 species of trees.

Pointing out that the decision of night safari will disturb the animals and is a violative of 48 (A) and 51 (A) (g) of Constitution of India, he said, “ Because this is the fundamental rights given to protect wildlife and forests.” Defending its decision, the Forest Department submitted that only 731 hectares of forest land will be utilised for the night safari and there will be a prohibition at the remaining places of the park.

The department also submitted that it has sought permission from the Central Zoo Authority of India to start the safari. The division bench directed the respondents to submit details on the precautionary measures taken and the mode of the functioning of the safari within 10 days.

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