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Article 19 | MP HC Dismisses Challenge To Induction Of More Tourist Guides In Tiger Reserve On Ground Of Reduction In 'Employment Possibilities'

Zeeshan Thomas
2 March 2022 5:47 AM GMT
Article 19 | MP HC Dismisses Challenge To Induction Of More Tourist Guides In Tiger Reserve On Ground Of Reduction In Employment Possibilities
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The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently dismissed a writ petition filed by the Bandhavgarh Guides Association, challenging the resolution passed by the Local Advisory Committee, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, to induct 50 additional tourist guides. Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav was of the opinion that such a resolution of the Local Advisory Committee should not be interfered with in...

The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently dismissed a writ petition filed by the Bandhavgarh Guides Association, challenging the resolution passed by the Local Advisory Committee, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve, to induct 50 additional tourist guides.

Justice Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav was of the opinion that such a resolution of the Local Advisory Committee should not be interfered with in exercise of powers vested under Article 226 of the Constitution, because the decision has been taken by the experts of the field based on the local requirement.

"The same cannot be challenged by the existing guides on the ground the same would amount to reduction in employment possibilities. Whether the number of tourists visiting the Tiger Reserve are in commensurate to the available number of guides or not; whether number of guides are in excess; what is the number of tourists visiting the Tiger Reserve; or whether all the guides are getting the employment on regular basis are the issues to be dealt with by an experts of that field," it held.

The case of the Petitioner was that the induction of 50 additional guides in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve violates its members' fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14,19 and 21 of the Constitution.

It submitted that presently, 108 guides were already registered by the Field Director, Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve and that the Local Advisory Committee was not the statutory body, which could have increased the number of guides by almost 50% of the existing strength. It argued that the entry of tourists in the recent past had been drastically reduced and if such a decision were to be implemented, the employment possibilities of its members were bound to be reduced.

The Court scrutinized the guidelines for tourism in and around tiger reserves, framed in exercise of powers U/S 38(O)(I)(c) of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and other statutes in force. It further examined the Guideline 2.1.8, which requires for the constitution of Local Advisory Committee for each tiger reserve by the State Government, to perform the functions as mentioned in the said guidelines. It also analysed the Guideline 2.1.9, which provided for the constitution of the members of the Local Advisory Committee.

The Court further perused the minutes of the resolution passed by the Local Advisory Committee concerned, and noted that 50 more guides were to be selected out of which 25 should preferably be female guides and, in case of non-availability of female guides, male guides would be selected. For selection of such guides, certain parameters were prescribed in the said decision.

Considering its abovementioned examination of the relevant legal provisions and the documents on record, the Court did not find any illegality in the impugned order/resolution and hence, dismissed the petition at admission stage.

Case Title: Bandhavgarh Guides Association & Anr. v. State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors

Case No: WP No.3218 of 2022

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (MP) 50

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