A Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Chief Justice of India, S.A. Bobde, and Justices B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant have issued directions for the formation of a Committee of Expert to supervise and survey Centre's plan to introduce African Cheetahs in the territory of India
The National Tiger Conservatory Authority (NTCA) had filed an application for permission to introduce Cheetahs from Africa to suitable sites in India. Previously, in the case of Centre for Environment Law, World Wide Fund - India v. Union of India & Ors [(2013) 8 SCC 234], an order of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) to introduce African Cheetahs in Kuno in Madhya Pradesh had been struck down on the ground that the Ministry had failed to conduct any detailed study before allowing the introduction of "foreign species" in the territory of India.
The application filed by NTCA wishes to remedy that defect by stating that the African Cheetahs would be "introduced on an experimental basis in a carefully chosen habitat and nurtured and watched to see whether it can adapt to the Indian conditions". It also proceeds to provide for alternate locations, if any difficulties arise.
The Bench has noted in its judgment that NTCA cannot solely exercise discretion in this matter, and has called for a Committee of Experts in the field to guide and direct the NTCA; they would "carry out the survey for the best location for introducing the African Cheetahs in India and take a careful decision about the viability of introducing this animal on a larger scale".
The CoE "shall also supervise the entire process and NTCA shall be guided to act in co-ordination with the expert committee". It would comprise of Dr. M.K. Ranjit Sinh, Dr. Dhananjai Mohan and DIG (Wildlife). They have been directed to submit a report on the matter after four months.
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