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SC maintains order in Madras HC asking Bollywood actor and others to leave land in Nilgiris

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A bench composed of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna delivered verdict on 35 petitions, including that of the Hotel Association of Mudumalai and Chakraborty against the judgment of the Madras High Court.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the 2011 Madras High Court ruling asking resort owners, including Bollywood actor Mithun Chakraborty and private landowners, to vacate and hand over possession of their lands under the “ elephant corridor ” at the collector of the district of NilgirisinTamil Nadu.

A bench composed of Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Sanjiv Khanna delivered verdict on 35 petitions, including that of the Hotel Association of Mudumalai and Chakraborty against the judgment of the Madras High Court.

Writing for the judiciary, Judge Nazeer took note of the objections of some resort and landowners regarding the variation in the area of ​​the Elephant Corridor as notified by the challenged government order and the acquisition actions taken by the receiver. from Nilgiris district. .

He said there had been an allegation of “a substantial difference between the area recommended for acquisition by the expert panel report and the area of ​​the disputed GO” and appointed a three-member investigative committee headed by Judge K Venkatraman, a former Madras judge. High Court, to deal with grievances.

The Supreme Court, in its judgment, addressed various aspects related to the existential crisis facing elephants and said: “Although it is a figure of traditional cultural respect, the elephant species is today. seriously endangered in India ”.

“The crux of the matter is the one that affects all the wildlife in the country: the land.

As India’s human population has grown exponentially over the past few decades, its demand for resources has also increased. In essence, this demand comes down to the demand for more land – for agriculture to produce more food and for the construction of roads, dams, mines, railways and housing. This demand for land has led to the degradation and fragmentation of the country’s forest cover, ”he said.

The high court had upheld the validity of the 2010 Tamil Nadu government notification that notified an “ elephant corridor ” in the Sigur Plateau of Nilgiris district and further ordered the station owners and to d other private owners to vacate and hand over vacant possession of the land included in the elephant corridor notified to the District Receiver, Nilgiris.

Facing objections from opponents of the elephant corridor and its consequences, the Supreme Court said the constitutional provisions “give the state a clear mandate to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the country’s forests and wildlife. .

“It is the duty of every Indian citizen to protect and enhance the natural environment, including forests and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures. The precautionary principle obliges the state government to anticipate, prevent and attack the causes of environmental degradation.

“With this in mind, we do not hesitate to assert that in order to protect the elephant population in the Sigur Plateau region, it was necessary and appropriate for the state government to limit commercial activity in the areas included in the elephant corridor, ”the judgment told me.

He went on to address observations that the scientific accuracy of the expert panel report, which reserved the single elephant corridor for Nilgiris, was “at odds with authoritative scientific publications.”

“The appellants argued that their resorts and other establishments did not fall within the historic corridors identified in these publications. We see no reason to interfere with the above factual findings of the High Court, nor do we find fault with the adoption by the State Government of the recommendations of the Expert Committee appointed by the High Court. , through the disputed GO, ”he said.

He then addressed the latest observations from land and resort owners that there was a substantial gap between the area recommended for acquisition of the corridor by the expert committee and the area mentioned in the GO.

“We believe it is fair and appropriate to conduct an investigation to establish the veracity of the appellants’ factual objections,” he said.

The bench appointed a three-member panel of which Ajay Desai, consultant to the World Wide Fund for Nature-India and Praveen Bhargava, director of Wildlife First and former member of the National Board for Wildlife, are the other two members.

“The State Government is responsible for consulting the chairman of the commission of inquiry and paying him and other members of the commission of inquiry. In addition, we call on the state government to provide appropriate secretarial assistance and logistical support to the commission of inquiry for the conduct of the investigation within four weeks from today ”, a- he indicated.

State government and district level authorities are urged to cooperate fully and produce all files / documents required by the Inquiry Committee to respond to the grievances of the appellants and anyone else claiming to be also aggrieved. he declared.

Land and resort owners and others claiming to be aggrieved by the GO and subsequent actions are permitted to file objections containing their grievances to the Inquiry Committee within four months of today, a t -he declares.

The High Court had observed that some of the people had built dwelling houses on their land, some of them encroached on government land and built buildings and some of them cultivated the said land falling under the corridor of the elephants.

(This story was posted from a reel with no text changes. Only the titleand introhas been changed)

Source: PTI

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