‘Tiger’ wins the high court battle, gets a ‘Reserve’ Forest of Mhadei
HC directs Goa Govt to notify Tiger Reserve in 3 months
In a historic and long-awaited judgement over the issue of Tiger Reserve, the Bombay High Court at Goa has directed the Goa government to reserve Mhadei wildlife sanctuary and other areas as a Tiger Reserve within three months from today.
The judgement was delivered today afternoon by a division bench consisting of Justic Mahesh Sonak and Justice Bharat P Deshpande.
The operative part of the judgement is as follows:
159. For all the above reasons, we dispose of this petition by making the following order:-
(i) We direct the State Government to notify the Mhadei WLS and other areas referred to in NTCA’s communications (and the plans prepared by the Goa Forest Department Officials) as a tiger reserve under Section 38-V (1) of the WLPA within three months from today;
(ii) We direct the State Government to take all steps to prepare a tiger conservation plan as contemplated by Section 38-V (3) of the WLPA and to forward the same to the NTCA within three months from notifying the Mhadei WLS and other areas as a tiger reserve;
(iii) We direct the NTCA to render full assistance to the State Government for completing the above process and after that to expeditiously process the State Government’s Tiger Conservation Plan and take a decision thereon within three months of receiving the tiger conservation plan from the State Government;
(iv) We direct the State Government to set up antipoaching camps at strategic locations to be staffed by forest guards, watchers, etc., in the WLS and National Parks in the State of Goa. This exercise must be completed within six months;
(v) We direct the State Government and the Forest Department authorities to take emergent steps to ensure that there are no encroachments in the protected forest areas like WLS and National Parks pending notification of the tiger reserve, and even after that;
(vi) We direct the State Government to determine and settle the rights and claims of the Scheduled Tribes and other forest dwellers following the law as expeditiously as possible and preferably within 12 months from today.
160. The rule is made absolute in the above terms without any cost order.