SC modifies 2022 order, removes ban on development activities around ESZs

The apex court's decision was announced after a three-judge bench, headed by Justice BR Gavai, revised their previous ruling

BS Web Team New Delhi
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Supreme Court on Wednesday revised its 2022 order which stated that each protected forest such as national parks and wildlife sanctuaries must have an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of one kilometre. 
The apex court's decision was announced after a three-judge bench, headed by Justice BR Gavai, revised their previous ruling. The court was hearing the Central government's plea, which argued that if the directions aren't modified, severe hardship would be inflicted upon the millions of people living around ESZ.

The government in its plea said that it has already issued guidelines of ESZs in February 2011, around national parks and wildlife sanctuaries which were framed after consulting the National Board for Wildlife and hence, was seeking the modification of the June 3 last year court order on the demarcation of such zones.
Besides the demarcation of ESZ, mining within such parks and sanctuaries across the nation was also banned, according to the 2022 order.

A three-judge bench was of the opinion that hat mining within a national park, a wildlife sanctuary, and within an area of one kilometre from their boundary shall not be permissible as it would be hazardous for wildlife. Justice Vikram Nath and Sanjay Karol, further added that the 2022 ban will not apply in those situations where the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has issued notifications.
The bench also added that the ban will not be enforced in those ESZs that are located on inter-state borders or have common boundaries.

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The Centre has been directed to give wide publicity be given to the draft notification issued by it so that all persons interested have adequate knowledge about the concerned matter, observed the bench.
The top court in 2022, issued a slew of directions and said, "The role of the State cannot be confined to that of a facilitator or generator of economic activities for immediate upliftment of the fortunes of the State."

No permanent structure will be allowed within such ESZ, the court ordered.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published: Apr 26 2023 | 8:44 PM IST

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