1Km ESZ Rule Doesn't Apply To Sanjay Gandhi National Park & Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary : Supreme Court Clarifies
Recently, the Supreme Court has clarified that the one kilometer wide Eco-Sensitive Zone around protected forests, set out by its order dated 03.06.2022, does not apply to Sanjay Gandhi National Park and the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary. A Bench comprising Justices B.R. Gavai, Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala passed the order while deciding an application filed seeking clarification of...
Recently, the Supreme Court has clarified that the one kilometer wide Eco-Sensitive Zone around protected forests, set out by its order dated 03.06.2022, does not apply to Sanjay Gandhi National Park and the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary.
A Bench comprising Justices B.R. Gavai, Surya Kant and J.B. Pardiwala passed the order while deciding an application filed seeking clarification of its judgment dated 03.06.2022, which directs that each protected forest, National Park or Wildlife Sanctuary must have one kilometre wide No Development Zone. However, the said rule was subject to changes by special circumstances. It had specifically exempted Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Guidy National Park for the ambit of the one kilometre wide eco-sensitive zone. The present application filed by CREDAI-MCHI, a part of the Maharashtra chapter of the Confederation of the Real Estate Developers' Association, submits that the rule would not be applicable to the Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Thane Flamingo Creek Sanctuary. The State of Maharashtra also supported the applicants in the reliefs sought by them.
It was noted that in the order dated 03.06.2022 the Apex Court had kept the decision regarding the Thane Flamingo Creek Sanctuary pending. It had indicated that a draft notification of April, 2021, pertaining to the Thane Flamingo Creek Sanctuary had been published by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF-CC) and in view of the same deferred the matter till the final decision was taken by the concerned authorities. The Bench observed that the final notification was issued on 14.10.2021, prior to the order dated 03.06.2022. The Bench noted that the notification dated 05.12.2016 in respect of Sanjay Gandhi National Park and notification dated 14.10.2021 in respect of Thane Flamingo Creek Sanctuary were issued after complying with the procedure established by law. Accordingly, the Bench allowed the application, even though the Amicus Curaie, Mr. A.D.N. Rao had requested it to refer the matter to CEC
On 09.02.2011, the MoEF-CC framed guidelines to facilitate declaration of Eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. The purpose behind the guidelines was to regulate and not merely prohibit certain activities around protected forests to minimise the adverse effect on the fragile ecosystem.
In December, 2016, MOEF-CC published a draft notification for Sanjay Gandhi National Park setting out a 100m to 4km wide Eco-sensitive zone. Subsequently, on 11.12.2018, the Apex Court, by way of an interim order, directed that an area of 10 kms around 21 National Parks / Wildlife Sanctuaries (including the Flamingo Creek) be declared as an Eco-sensitive Zone and granted liberty to State Governments to approach it with proposed modifications.
In 2019, a draft notification was issued for Flamingo Creek which was eventually revised on 08.04.2021 and the final notification was published on 14.10.2021 whereby the Eco-sensitive Zone extent was set as 0 to 3.89 km. Thereafter on 03.06.2022, the Apex Court passed an order suggesting a one kilometre wide No Development Zone.
The petitioner was represented by Sr. Advocates Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, Mr. Atmaram Nadkani along with Mr. Kunal Vajani and DSK Legal's team comprising, Ms. Shivani Khanwilkar (Senior Associate), Ms. Saloni Shah (Senior Associate), and Mr. Samit Shukla (Partner) assisted by Mr. Mani Bhushan (Court Clerk).
[Case Title: In Re T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad v. Union of India And Ors. WP(C) No. 202/1995]