18 May 2023 4:08 PM GMT
The Supreme Court on Thursday today asked the Centre to consider if the newly-introduced cheetahs in the country can be spread over and not be confined in one place. A Bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sanjay Karol, referring to newspaper reports regarding deaths of three cheetahs, said that Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park may not be sufficient to accommodate so many cheetahs. “Kuno is...
The Supreme Court on Thursday today asked the Centre to consider if the newly-introduced cheetahs in the country can be spread over and not be confined in one place.
A Bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sanjay Karol, referring to newspaper reports regarding deaths of three cheetahs, said that Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park may not be sufficient to accommodate so many cheetahs.
“Kuno is not sufficient to accommodate…look for an alternative, either in Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan. Whatever terrain is possible. You should be more interested in Rajasthan. I would be happy if it is Maharashtra”, the Bench observed while adding that ‘party-politics’ shouldn’t brought into these matters.
Adding on to this view, the Court said, “You are getting animals from abroad and there might a complete extinction at one place. Why don't you try for some alternate remedy?”
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati assured the Court that the Task force constituted for this purpose, along with the experts in the field, are on “top of the whole situation”. On January 29, 2020 that the Court passed the order to constitute a Committee of Experts to supervise and survey Centre's plan to introduce African Cheetahs in the territory of India
“There is an action plan”, she said and apprised the Bench of the birth of four Cheetah cubs.
The Bench also appeared concerned about the three deaths of cheetahs.
“Three deaths have happened…..Why did you accept an animal (female) who had kidney failure?”, the Bench further queried.
The Court was also apprised of the one of the members, part of the committee had engaged a lawyer, on his behalf alone to make submissions before the Court.
“We want the project to be the pivotal point”, the ASG said, displeased with the move.
“He can't be saying that I am the only expert”, she added.
This comment called for the Court point out, “This is not an adversarial litigation”.
The ASG said she will place the developments within committee as well as the progress made in the matter, on record.
“Rather than concentrating them on one place, see what can be done”, the Court reiterated while adding that both the Judges are truly devoted to the cause of protecting the environment.
“This is something that’s very close to our heart”, Justice Gavai said.
The ASG reminded the Bench that deaths of the three cheetahs is not “unusual”, and that the reasons for the cause of death is being investigated.
Since 1945, we don't have cheetahs in India. So, we don’t have any experts for Cheetahs in India, the ASG further pointed.
“Add more than one sanctuary for them”, the Bench repeated.
Whatever suggestions you want to give, give it to ASG in 15 days”, the Court said before adjourning the matter to July 16.
The Court was hearing an application moved by an expert committee constituted to “guide and direct” the National Tiger Conservation Authority with respect to India’s ambitious cheetah reintroduction programme. The application was filed as part of a plea seeking to direct the statutory body to keep the court-appointed committee apprised of latest developments and accept their advice and submissions
Case Title: Centre for Environment Law WWF-I v. Union of India | WP (C) No 337/1995
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