Supreme Court Orders Eviction Of All Resorts In Nilgiris Elephant Corridor
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Tamil Nadu, 15 Oct 2020 6:18 AM GMT
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A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde said it is the state’s duty to protect a “keystone species” like elephants, which are immensely important to the wildlife ecosystem.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday, October 14, upheld a Madras High Court order and ratified the Tamil Nadu government's authority to notify an elephant corridor in the Sigur plateau in the Nilgiris.
The elephant corridor is situated in the Masinagudi area near the Mudumalai National Park in the Nilgris district. The apex court directed eviction of 39 resorts in the reserve forest area which were falling in the elephant corridor. The resorts which housed 309 buildings obstructed the free movement of the animals through the passage.
A three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said it is the state's duty to protect a "keystone species" like elephants, which are immensely important to the wildlife ecosystem.
"Elephant corridors allow elephants to continue their nomadic mode of survival, despite shrinking forest cover, by facilitating travel between distinct forest habitats... these corridors play a crucial role in sustaining wildlife by reducing the impact of habitat isolation," Justice S Abdul Nazeer, who wrote the judgment, observed, The Hindu reported.
According to reports, the top court's judgment came on 32 appeals which were filed by resort owners/ private landowners including Bollywood actor Mithun Chakraborty, against a Madras High Court decision of July 2011.
"Many petitioners argued they had due permissions to operate their resorts and were inhabitants of the area living in residential spaces. The SC then expressed its inclination to appoint a three-member enquiry committee to look at the grievances of all petitioners and take a call as to which establishments should be demolished or relocated," Vishal Sinha, an advocate in the case, told Down To Earth.
"The elephant is a gentleman and man should give way for the elephant," Chief Justice Bobde had said before reserving the case for judgment on January 22.
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