The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Centre and the state governments on a PIL challenging the creation of tiger reserves in the already existing national parks and sanctuaries by bringing amendments in the Wildlife (Protection) Act.
A Bench of Chief Justice YK Sabharwal and Justice CK Thakker issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Tiger Conservation Authority and state governments on the allegation that provisions incorporated in this regard diluted and repealed some of the salutary provisions of the Act.
The PIL filed jointly by NGOs, Bombay Natural History Society, Wildlife Protection Society of India, Wildlife First and Conservation of Action Trust, has objected to inclusion of new chapters, namely IV B and IV C, for the establishment of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Tiger and other Endangered Species Crime Control Bureau.
Advocate Raj Panjwani, appearing for the NGOs, contended that the new additions in the legislation diluted the existing provisions, which were specifically incorporated for the protection of the wildlife and its habitat.
The PIL has challenged the government's September 4 notification for constituting the NTCA.
The counsel contended that the creation of tiger reserves will take away stringent conditions which are applicable in national parks and sanctuaries for the protection of the wildlife and its habitat.
While contending that the new provisions in the Act are ultra vires of Article 21 of the Constitution, the NGOs submitted that the Act be allowed to be applicable to already existing sanctuaries and national parks irrespective of such areas being notified as tiger reserves with earlier provisions.