Vedanthangal sanctuary: Madras High Court admits petition but with warning
Even as it admitted a plea seeking to direct the State to withdraw the proposal to denotify and demarcate Vedanthangal bird sanctuary – allegedly for a pharmacy company – the Madras High Court warned the petitioner of exemplary cost if it found that the plea was meant for publicity.
When the plea moved by advocate Stalin Raja came up for hearing before a division bench comprising Justice R Subbiah and Justice Krishnan Ramasamy on Wednesday, Additional Advocate General S R Rajagopal pointed out that it did not make the Centre and the private company as party to the case.
He also noted that the plea has been moved without waiting for the State government’s response, and alleged that it clearly indicated that it was meant for publicity.
Following this, the bench directed the petitioner to include both Centre and the private company as parties to the case, and posted it for further hearing to July 2. It also warned of imposing at least Rs 50,000 as cost if the case was filed for publicity.
The petitioner submitted that the Forest Department proposed to denotify a portion of the Vedanthangal bird sanctuary in Chengalpattu to benefit commercial and industrial developers such as Sun Pharmaceuticals.
There was no provision in law to declare an area within a sanctuary that was not a tiger reserve as a core or buffer zone, he said, adding that eco-sensitive zones were to be defined outside the boundaries of protected areas. Denotification of a sanctuary or altering its limits from five km to three km, like in this case, could be done only if it was established that it would aid conservation and not to cater to the aspirations of industries operating illegally within the sanctuary’s limits, the plea argued.
The plea also sought eviction of private industries operating within the boundary of the sanctuary.