Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (February 23, 2024)

Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal  

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 26 February 2024

SC directs Animal Welfare Board to pass order on management of feral, free-ranging, domesticated dogs in wildlife habitats, forests

The Supreme Court (SC) directed the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) February 19, 2024 to go through the representation made by the Bombay Natural History Society regarding management of feral, free-ranging and domesticated dogs in wildlife habitats and forests.

The apex court asked AWBI to give the petitioner a personal hearing and pass a speaking order within four weeks thereafter. 

The petitioner said that although guidelines have been framed by AWBI regarding stray dogs / animals, there are no guidelines pertaining to free-ranging dogs and they are becoming a danger to many other species such as the Great Indian Bustard.

The petitioner must make its representation before AWBI itself, SC said. However, the petitioner informed the apex court that their representations before AWBI have been left unanswered earlier.

Over 5,000 hectares of forest land in Kerala under encroachment: NGT calls for report

Taking a serious view of a news report on over 5,000 hectares of forested land in Kerala being encroached upon, NGT directed notices to be issued to the principal secretary, environment and forest department of Karnataka as well as the principal chief conservator of forest and chief wildlife warden of the Kerala forest department. The case will be listed before the southern zonal bench at Chennai on April 12, 2024.

The application has been registered on the basis of the news item titled Over 5,000 hectares of forest land in Kerala under encroachment: State forest dept report published in the news daily Deccan Herald January 8, 2024.

The story also revealed that of 5,024.535 hectares of forest land encroached upon, 1,998.03 hectares is in the Kottayam High Range Circle, which included the Kothamangalam, Kottayam, Munnar, Marayoor and Mankulam divisions. 

It also noted that the second-largest encroached forest area (1,599.61 hectares) is in Palakkad Eastern Circle and the third in the Northern Circle (1,085.67 hectares).

NGT direction regarding Yale Mallappa Shetty lake pollution

The principal bench of NGT February 21 directed notices to be issued to authorities on pollution and encroachment of Yale Mallappa Shetty lake, Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Notices were to be issued to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board,deputy commissioner and district magistrate, Bengaluru and the Karnataka State Wetland Authority.

The court also directed the matter to be transferred to the southern bench of NGT and the next hearing of the case is listed for April 12, 2024.

An application was registered on the basis of the news item published in the Bangalore Mirror January 9, 2024 regarding pollution and encroachment of Yale Mallappa Shetty lake. It said that the lake has become the dumping site of construction and demolition waste and over an area of 21 acres of lake land has been encroached upon. 

As per the news item, the lake is vulnerable to all types of encroachment and it has become a destination for the dumping of construction and demolition material by building contractors, truck drivers, among others. The entire stretch on the southern side of the lake is filled with construction and demolition waste material, it added.

The news item also contained the allegation that the road along the lake bund connecting the private layout is illegal and those who own or developed those layouts have engaged earth movers to level the debris, thus increasing the width of the road and reducing the lake land. 

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