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Supreme Court Grants Time To Centre To Respond To PIL Filed Regarding Non Functioning Of National Board For Wildlife

Srishti Ojha
19 March 2021 4:25 AM GMT
Supreme Court Grants Time To Centre To Respond To PIL Filed Regarding Non Functioning Of National Board For Wildlife
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Supreme Court has on Thursday granted Centre time to respond to the PIL filed regarding non-functioning of National Board for Wildlife constituted under Wildlife Protection Act, seeking directions to convene first meeting of the Board after its reconstitution in 2014. The Court will take up the matter next on Wednesday, 24th March. During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta...

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Supreme Court has on Thursday granted Centre time to respond to the PIL filed regarding non-functioning of National Board for Wildlife constituted under Wildlife Protection Act, seeking directions to convene first meeting of the Board after its reconstitution in 2014. The Court will take up the matter next on Wednesday, 24th March.

During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre submitted before the Court that he is receiving instructions and will respond by Monday or Tuesday.

A three - Judge Bench of CJI Bobde, Justice Bopanna and Justice Ramasubramanian had previously issued notice to the Centre, in the petition contending that by not convening a single meeting, the National Board for Wildlife has failed in following mandate of Wildlife Protection Act and in upholding DPSP under Article 48A

The petition filed by Advocate Mayuri Raghuvanshi on behalf of the petitioner, has submitted that the reconstitution of the Board was done after directions were issued by the top Court through its order dated 25th August 2014 in the case of Chandrabhal Singh vs Union of India.

According to the petitioner the National Board for Wildlife has not even met once while the parent legislation Wildlife Protection Act provides for a statutory period of one year for the meeting to be conducted to provide guidance to the laws and policies relating to wildlife conservation including prevention of illegal trade. In the absence such a meeting of the Board the policy making has been taken over illegally by the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife without any delegation as per Section 5B(1) of the Wildlife Protection Act and without any justification in law. Due to such adhoc and arbitrary processes being carried out the highest statutory body in the country for wildlife conservation has been reduced to a clearance granting body and the entire National Board for Wildlife has been diluted and subverted. Therefore there is a gaping lacuna in conservation and preservation of wildlife and combating illegal trade of wildlife and poaching among other concerns such as monitoring of the Protected Area Network, etc in interest of environment and wildlife.

The petitioner has contended that by not convening even a single meeting the National Board for Wildlife has not only failed in following the Act's mandate but also miserably failed in upholding the Directive Principle of State Policy under Article 48A. Further, the Board has also grossly violated the fundamental rights enshrined under Article 21 because the Supreme Court has time and again held that two said articles have to be kept in mind in understanding the scope and purport of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

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