HC to forest dept, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms


Expressing concern over death of sarus cranes due to alleged poisoning in Gondia, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Monday directed the state forest department to probe the incident.

“We direct the forest department to submit final report to the competent authority, in accordance with law, and its copy be submitted to this court. Same direction shall hold good for investigation that is going on into the unnatural death of two sarus cranes due to electrocution,” a division bench comprising justices Sunil Shukre and Manohar Chandwani said.

The bench was hearing a suo motu PIL (No2/2021) over dwindling habitat of the world’s tallest flying bird and challenges faced in its conservation and protection.

Earlier, Sustaining Environment and Wildlife Assemblage (SEWA) counsel HA Khedikar pointed out that recently, some birds, dependent on water of a lake in Dangorli and another area of Gondia district, were found to have died of poisoning. It is suspected that the birds may have received fatal doses of poison after drinking the lake water.

Amicus curiae Radhika Bajaj apprised the HC about death of two sarus cranes in Gondia due to electrocution.

Assistant conservator of forest Rajendra Sadgir said the affected birds were given proper treatment and they are recovering. He said investigation was underway in suspected poisoning deaths.

After being pointed out by Bombay Natural History Society’s (BNHS) senior counsel Chandrashekhar Kaptan and Khedikar, the judges added Airport Authority of India (AAI) in Gondia as respondent in the PIL. They also directed that AAI should be added as a member of sarus conservation committee.

Both lawyers said a large part of Zilmil Lake, a natural habitat of sarus cranes, falls within Gondia airport area under the control of AAI and there is immediate need for preserving this part of lake for protection, conservation and growth of the birds.

The HC was informed that Gondia collector had on August 26 already forwarded a proposal to the state wetlands authority for recognition of 20 water bodies as wetland in the district, but no steps were taken till date.

“We may remind the authority of our orders on earlier occasions wherein we had emphasized on identification and protection of wetlands, which cannot be done unless the water bodies are duly notified. We direct the authority to consider the collector’s proposal in right perspective. It should issue notification recognizing these water bodies as wetlands unless these or any of it do or does not fit into applicable parameters,” the HC said.


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