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SC puts on hold 140 projects cleared by Wildlife Board

Petition against the partially constituted NBWL was filed on August 1

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

 

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre, asking it to put on hold around 140 projects cleared by the Union environment ministry's recently reconstituted National Board for Wildlife (NBWL). The apex court said the nomination of only three of the 15 mandatory members to the Wildlife Board, along with that of its standing committee, has not been done in consonance with the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

NBWL, chaired by the prime minister, is a top body under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, to review all wildlife-related issues. Its standing committee, headed by Union environment minister, is empowered to appraise all projects that fall within or around national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and tiger reserves.

The new committee had met on August 11-12 under the chairmanship of minister Prakash Javadekar and cleared almost all the 140 projects on agenda. The Union environment ministry is yet to release the minutes of the meeting in public domain.

Sanjay Upadhyay, a senior SC lawyer, filed the petition against the partially constituted NBWL on August 1. Hearing the petition on Monday, SC directed that the NBWL might function but its decisions would not be put to effect till the next date of hearing, which is expected in the next two weeks.

A D N Rao, the amicus curie in the case, too supported the move to put implementation of the decisions on hold. Business Standard had reported the Centre was notifying a toothless Board on July 22 by nominating only three non-government experts and institutions instead the statutory 15.

Even out of these, the government decided to nominate a Gujarat government’s own institution -- Gujarat Ecological Education and Research Foundation headed by state Chief Minister Anandiben Patel – instead of an independent agency. Another expert it nominated was a retired Gujarat cadre forest service officer, H S Singh.

Even out of these, the government decided to nominate a Gujarat government’s own institution -- Gujarat Ecological Education and Research Foundation headed by state Chief Minister Anandiben Patel – instead of an independent agency. Another expert it nominated was a retired Gujarat cadre forest service officer, H S Singh.

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First Published: Tue, August 26 2014. 00:45 IST
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