SC contempt notice against Gujarat discharged
The Times Of India
AHMEDABAD : The Supreme Court has discharged the contempt notice in the petition filed by Madhya Pradesh-based wildlife activist, Ajay Dubey, demanding action against concerned authorities including the Gujarat and Union governments for not implementing the apex court's order for lion translocation passed in April 2013.
The Union minister of forest and environment assured the court that the 12-member committee, formed according to the apex court's order of April 2013, will meet later this month and the minutes will be placed before the court.
Currently other petitions clubbed with the contempt proceeding will be heard.
In respect to the challenge to lion translocation clubbed with the contempt proceedings by Rajkot based NGO, Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT), the SC has asked the Gujarat government and the Union ministry of environment forest and climate change to file their replies. WCT has opposed the translocation of lions from Gir in Gujarat to Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh.
The matter is listed for hearing in April.
Ajay Dubey, a wildlife activist from Madhya Pradesh, has filed the contempt petition in the Supreme Court demanding action against the government of India and the Gujarat government for not implementing the apex court order of April 2013 directing translocation of lions to Kuno Palpur from Sasan Gir. WTC filed an impleadment application in the contempt proceedings.
Varun Chopra, who appeared on behalf of Ajay Dubey in Supreme court, said, "The court after ta- king the statement of Union ministry on record discharged the contempt notice, but has asked the petitioner to be present in the court during next hearings."
Tushar Gokani, advocate for the WCT, said, "We had during the hearing in the apex court sought permission and the court had permitted the trust to file an impleadment application in the contempt petition which is going on in the apex court.
"The apex court on Thursday, while hearing the matter asked the Union ministry and Gujarat forest department to file their replies. The matter is now listed for hearing in April, and the court had issued notice to Gujarat government," said Gokani Gokani said the Union ministry has placed on record that the committee has met six to seven times and they will be meeting by March 13. Gokani further said that during the hearing, one of the judges had remarked "We have to be very careful in translocating the lions. All the aspects have to be thoroughly examined."
The WCT in its petition has submitted that Gujarat has tried to put forward several arguments before the expert committee formed by the order of the Supreme Court, but the committee which was bound by directions given in the judgement, was not willing to hear any arguments against translocation.
The petitioner organization has raised concerns of animal behaviour and submitted that the court has been misguided on the issue of status of lions.
The petitioner has said that the status of the Asiatic lion was not critically endangered, but that according to the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature it has been listed as endangered species.
The petitioner organization demanded that the Supreme Court should consider that under Wildlife Protection Act, 1935, the chief wildlife warden, the state government and central government are appropriate authorities to decide on translocation of any species.