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Rajasthan High Court Stays Constructions Within 1 Km Of Kumbhalgarh Forest Reserve

Sparsh Upadhyay
19 Jan 2022 10:19 AM GMT
Rajasthan High Court Stays Constructions Within 1 Km Of Kumbhalgarh Forest Reserve
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The Rajasthan High Court has stayed all construction activities being undertaken within a distance of 1000 meters from the boundary of the Kumbhalgarh Forest Reserve.The bench of Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Vinod Kumar Bharwani has also clarified that the Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism and District Collector, Rajsamand and Pali shall be personally responsible for...

The Rajasthan High Court has stayed all construction activities being undertaken within a distance of 1000 meters from the boundary of the Kumbhalgarh Forest Reserve.

The bench of Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Vinod Kumar Bharwani has also clarified that the Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism and District Collector, Rajsamand and Pali shall be personally responsible for ensuring compliance of the court's order.

The Case in brief

The Bench issued this order while dealing with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea filed by advocate Rituraj Singh Rathore who submitted before the Court that in May 2015, the Department of Forest, Government of Rajasthan, had issued an order banning all commercial and industrial activities in a periphery of one kilometer from the protected boundaries of forest which includes Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary.

In the 2015 order, the revenue authorities had also been directed not to convert any land in the areas up to 1 km from the boundaries of the protected areas of Ranthambore, Sariska, Kumbhalgarh wildlife sanctuary, and Jawai Leopard conservation reserve

However, the petitioner further added, in breach of said 2015 order of the Government, rampant construction activities are being undertaken in the vicinity of the Kumbhalgarh forest boundary. 

Last year, moving the High Court, he had contended that a road had been proposed to be built between Vanpath Gomthara and Goram Mandir in the sanctuary, challenging the same, he had argued before the Court the road was to be built using the funds provided by the DMFT due to the political clout of the sitting MLA who had promised to build such a path to the temple to the voters of his constituency.

Further, in the PIL, the petitioner moved an application for impleading Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism and District Collector, Rajsamand and Pali as party respondents.

This has been done while averring in his application that the Department of tourism Rajasthan had brought a tourism policy 2020 introducing a guesthouse scheme, under which, a person can operate a guest house with 20 rooms without any need of commercial conversion even within the periphery of 1000 meter of the reserve forest.

"Since there is no requirement of getting the land commercially converted, a number of hotels have come up within 1 km from the boundaries of the above-mentioned protected areas. That although a guesthouse with 20 rooms is a purely commercial activity and as per the order dated 31/03/2015 of the forest department should be prohibited within 1 km from the boundaries of the protected areas but since the Department of tourism is treating a guest house with 20 rooms not as a commercial activity such commercial guesthouses are being built within 1 km from the boundaries of the protected areas," the plea states.

Court's order

Issuing the Notice to the newly added respondents, the Court has sought their replies by March 7 and till then, the Court has issued the following order:

"...it is hereby directed that all construction activities being undertaken within a distance of 1000 meters from the boundary of the Kumbhalgarh Forest Reserve shall remain stayed. The Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism and District Collector, Rajsamand and Pali shall be personally responsible for ensuring compliance of this order which shall be communicated to them forthwith through e-mail."

Case title - Rituraj Singh Rathore v. State Of Rajasthan & Ors.

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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