Order follows Andaman and Nicobar Administration’s January 17 notification

The Supreme Court on Monday banned tourists from taking the Andaman Nicobar Trunk Road that passes through the area where the Jarawas live. The road is used to reach the Limestone Cave.

The court has already banned all commercial and tourism activities within a five-km radius of the Jarawa Tribal Reserve on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and H.L. Gokhale passed the order, taking on record the Andaman and Nicobar Administration’s January 17 notification to comply with the court directives issued last year.

Except 30 villages notified in the schedule, the notification declares a buffer zone of an area up to a five-km radius, adjacent and contiguous to the Jarawa Tribal Reserve Area — starting from the Constance Bay in South Andaman to Lewis Inlet Bay in Middle Andaman. No person shall operate any commercial or tourist establishment directly or indirectly in the buffer zone. Furthermore, no one shall carry out any activity, which may be prejudicial to the safety, security and interests of the Jarawas in any of the settlement villages.

The Bench directed that only government officials, persons residing in the reserve and vehicles carrying essential commodities for the Jarawas would be allowed on the Trunk Road.

Justice Singhvi told counsel, “You provide helicopter service to… tourists to reach the cave as there is a total ban in the buffer area.”

“File affidavit”

The Bench directed the Andaman and Nicobar Administration to file an affidavit, along with a detailed map indicating the areas of Jarawas and settlement of others. It posted the matter for further hearing on February 26.

The October 30, 2007 notification, imposing the ban, was quashed by the Calcutta High Court.

On an appeal, the Supreme Court, stayed the order and asked the administration to strictly enforce the notification till it was considered by the court. This was followed by the January 17 notification.

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