The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu, said “arbitrary sanctions or permission cannot be granted in the region. There appears to be pure ad hocism resorted to here without an environmental impact assessment study.”
The bench directed the ban on homestays while admitting a PIL, which expressed concern over the mushrooming of illegal resorts and homestays in the Nilgiris with the consequential increase in footfall and toxic vehicular fumes.
Directing the district authorities to conduct inspections to ensure that the homestays do not continue without approval, the bench lamented that it is becoming increasingly fashionable for residents in the area to open homestays on weekends for urban visitors.
Directing the State to put a system in place on observing that there may not be any law governing the matter, the bench said, “using residential accommodation for commercial purposes would be against public policies and opposed to the law.”
Seeking the State to consider curbing vehicular traffic and keeping the upper levels free from vehicles using fossil fuel, the court, in its interim order, said, “the State is requested to ensure that there are adequate restrictions in place to arrest the footfall and vehicular traffic that threaten to destroy the environment in the Nilgiris.”