×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

National parks, wildlife sanctuaries must have ESZ of one kilometre from demarcated boundary: SC

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, B R Gavai and A S Bopanna said mining within the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries shall not be permitted
shish Tripathi
Last Updated : 03 June 2022, 16:24 IST
Last Updated : 03 June 2022, 16:24 IST
Last Updated : 03 June 2022, 16:24 IST
Last Updated : 03 June 2022, 16:24 IST

Follow Us :

Comments

The Supreme Court on Friday ruled that each protected forest, that is a national park or wildlife sanctuary, must have an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of a minimum of one kilometre, measured from the demarcated boundary, where mining and other commercial activities cannot be permitted.

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao, B R Gavai and Aniruddha Bose said in the case, the ESZ is already prescribed, beyond a one-kilometre buffer zone, the wider margin shall prevail.

"If such wider buffer zone beyond one kilometre is proposed under any statutory instrument for a particular national park or wildlife sanctuary awaiting a final decision in that regard, then till such final decision is taken, the ESZ covering the area beyond one kilometre as proposed shall be maintained," the bench said.

The court passed its directions while dealing with issues of mining activities in and around 'Jamua Ramgarh' a wildlife sanctuary in Rajasthan and prescribing the ESZ surrounding the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.

"The role of the State cannot be confined to that of a facilitator or generator of economic activities for immediate upliftment of the fortunes. The State also has to act as a trustee for the benefit of the general public in relation to the natural resources so that sustainable development can be achieved in the long term. Such role is more relevant today, than, possibly, at any point of time in history with the threat of climate catastrophe resulting from global warming looming large," the bench said.

The bench also directed that in respect of sanctuaries or national parks for which the proposal of a State or Union Territory has not been given, the 10 kilometres buffer zone as ESZ, as per the order passed by the top court on December 4, 2006, in the case of Goa Foundation and also contained in the guidelines of February 9, 2011, should be implemented. The Union government, for its part, said no consensus has been reached with regards to notifying the areas within 10 km of the boundaries of National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries as ESZ.

The court, however, enjoined the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests as also the Home Secretary of each State and Union Territory for proper compliance with the guidelines as regards the nature of use within the ESZ of all national parks and sanctuaries.

It also said the minimum width of the ESZ may be diluted in "overwhelming public interest" but for that purpose, the State or Union Territory concerned should approach the court-appointed Central Empowered Committee and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, which would give their recommendations before this court.

The court said 2011 guidelines on buffer zone appeared reasonable but it accepted the view of the Standing Committee of the National Board of Wildlife that uniform guidelines may not be possible in respect of each sanctuary or national park for maintaining ESZ.

"We are of the opinion, however, that a minimum width of one kilometre ESZ ought to be maintained in respect of the protected forests, which forms part of the recommendations of the CEC in relation to Category B protected forests. This would be the standard formula, subject to changes in special circumstances," the bench said.

ADVERTISEMENT
Published 03 June 2022, 09:14 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT