Sunday, September 30, 2012

Centre seeks Supreme Court nod to bring cheetah

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Wed Sep 19 2012, 06:02 hrs
Four months ago, the court stayed proposed move to get cheetah from Namibia
Asserting that an opinion of the National Board for Wildlife was only “advisory” in nature and “not mandatory,” the Centre on Tuesday urged the Supreme Court to lift its four-month-old stay on implementation of the Cheetah Reintroduction Programme, through which the Ministry of Environment and Forests sought to get the feline from Africa.
In an affidavit filed in pursuant to the court’s May 8 stay order, the MoEF has refuted the proposition that the NBW’s opinion was a legal requirement — one of the prime contentions that had led the court order. “The NBW is primarily an advisory body to the Government of India on matters relating to wildlife, as mandated under the Wildlife (Protection) Act. Section 5C or any other provision of the Act does not make the opinion of the NBW mandatory for the government to take a considered decision on management and conservation of wildlife based on scientific information,” stated the affidavit.
It added that the proposal regarding reintroduction of cheetah was placed before the NBW in March 2010 and none of its members had raised any objection to it nor had they sought a discussion during the subsequent meetings.
A Forest Bench had restrained the government from going ahead with its project following objections over lack of positive opinion from the NBW, expected expenditure, prey base, and other aspects relating to the feasibility study.
The issue of relocating cheetah from Namibia came up during a hearing on reintroduction of Asiatic lions from Gujarat’s Gir National Park to Kuno Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh. The affidavit, submitted by government’s counsel S W A Qadri has sought permission to reintroduce the extinct species in its historical range, claiming cheetah and lions have historical coexistence in the proposed area.
“It will be ensured that the cheetah reintroduction in Kuno would in no way be allowed to delay and affect the lion reintroduction therein,” the MoEF undertook.

No comments: