EVICTION OF RESORTS IN ELEPHANT CORRIDOR | UPSC LAW OPTIONAL MAINS CURRENT AFFAIRS | ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
The Elephant corridor situated in Sigur Plateau, connecting Western and Eastern Ghats is famous for large population of Elephants in Tamil Nadu. It is a nomadic survival place for Elephants in the form of forest.
Issue | The private land owners and resort owners wanted to use this forest reserve for commercial purposes. But these commercial activities became a hindrance in way Elephants as they could not move freely due to set up of buildings in their natural habitat.
Legal provisions : The Constitution as well as Environment law protects and safeguards the forests and wildlife of the country.
This is also enunciated under Article 48A of the Constitution. Article 21 provides protection of rights of animals.
In Animal Welfare Board of India v. Nagaraja & ors., the court extended Article 21 to animals, and conferred that animals shall not be arbitrarily deprived of their rights.
Article 51 A states fundamental duty on every citizen of India to have compassion for living creatures.
The principles of Environmental law also provides for protection and preservation of environment and animals.
The precautionary principle makes it mandatory for the state government to anticipate and prevent degradation to environment.
Decision of court
The case came before the Madras High court which followed the government order and held that Elephant corridor should be preserved and the migratory path of animals through Nilgiri biosphere reserve should be protected.
32 appeals were filed against this decision before the Supreme Court. The apex court upheld the decision of Madras High Court and said, “It it is the duty of state government to protect a keystone species like Elephant, which is immensely important for the environment.” Thus, the court evicted 39 resorts that restricted the path of Elephants. The Chief Jusice India also said that Elephant is a gentleman and man should give way for the Elephant. The case is reserved for judgment on 22 January, 2021.
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