29 March 2023 5:30 AM GMT
The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday directed the State Government to implement various provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the Government Resolution dated May 22, 2019 issued by the Forest & Environment Department in its true spirit, for the religious campus located on the hills of Girnar.While hearing a PIL on the issue, the division bench of The Acting Chief Justice A. J....
The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday directed the State Government to implement various provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and the Government Resolution dated May 22, 2019 issued by the Forest & Environment Department in its true spirit, for the religious campus located on the hills of Girnar.
While hearing a PIL on the issue, the division bench of The Acting Chief Justice A. J. Desai and Justice Biren Vaishnav made following observations:
“We are also of the considered view that there are many fundamental duties of citizens of this country as provided under Articles 48-A and 51-A, including to protect the monuments and places and objects of national importance under Clause (g) of Article 51-A of Constitution of India. It is also one of the fundamental duties of the citizen to protect natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and Wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.”
The petitioner filed the present PIL for issuance of various directions to the respondent authorities for implementation of the provisions of Articles 21, 48-A, 51-A(g) of the Constitution of India and provisions of Section 27(Restriction on entry in sanctuary), Section 28 (Grant of permit), Section 29 (Destruction, etc., in a sanctuary prohibited without a permit), Section 30 (Causing fire prohibited) and Section 32 (Ban on use of injurious substances) of The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for religious campus located on the hills of Girnar- Ambika temple and Dattatrey temple etc.
The petitioner submitted that thousands of people visit the aforesaid temples everyday but the hills are not being properly maintained by the State and used plastic wastage have been thrown by the visitors which are not regularly cleaned.
Earlier, vide order dated March 2, 2023 the court directed the District Collector, Junagadh, Chief Conservator of Forests, Junagadh Circle and the Commissioner, Junagadh Municipal Corporation to submit their joint report about the proposed steps to be taken as to maintain clean environment and to protect the flora and fauna in the area of Girnar Hills.
The said report was prepared and filed on March 23, 2023 before the court in the form of affidavit after a team of the officers visited the religious campus located on the hills of Girnar.
The Assistant Government Pleader, Utkarsh Sharma submitted before the court that the authorities would report back about the implementation of the steps in the said report and the suggested action in its true spirit after some time.
The court directed as follows:
“The Authority shall see that the proposed action referred to in paragraphs 8 to 12 or any other action which is referred to in the affidavit dated 23.03.2023 signed by the three officers of the government, be implemented in its true spirit.”
The court further directed the authority to implement the provisions of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, as well as the Government Resolution dated May 22, 2019.
The court added:
“we also appeal to all the citizens who are visiting such places, including those religious places located on the hills or surrounding the hills or any such areas of this country to co-operate with the government authorities to make the environment clean and to protect our heritage buildings.”
The matter is listed again on July 3, 2023.
Case Title: Amit Manibhai Panchal v. State of Gujarat
Coram: The Acting Chief Justice A. J. Desai and Justice Biren Vaishnav
Click Here to Read/Download Order