Conservation is not an act of charity but a necessity: HC

Conservation is not an act of charity towards nature but a necessity, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court observed while dismissing a petition that had challenged a government order on creation of Srivilliputhur Megamalai Tiger Reserve.

A Division Bench of Justices T. S. Sivagnanam and S. Ananthi observed it was for experts to determine as to whether the area had to be declared a reserved forest so as to protect the environment not only for the present but also for posterity. “We do not agree with the petitioner who states that the people should be prioritised over wildlife. In the food cycle, the wildlife plays an important role and none should do anything to make it extinct,” the judges said.

The court was hearing a petition filed by I. Andi of Andipatti in Theni district. The petitioner sought a direction to the authorities to resurvey the villages to confirm tiger population. The villagers were dependent on agriculture. Following the order, they would be evicted, he said.

The judges said that the notification cannot be set aside and it was issued following a detailed procedure. The reason for the petitioner to approach the court was only to recognise the possession of the land which the villagers claim to be in occupation for several decades.

The petitioner need not have any apprehension. If they have valid documents in support of their claim, they can approach the Forest Department and follow the procedure stipulated to be recognised as lawful occupant.

The court granted liberty to the petitioner and similarly placed persons to approach the appropriate authority of the Forest Department to establish their rights to cultivate and carry on other activities in the place where they currently reside by submitting applications. The petition was dismissed.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 9:59:26 PM |

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