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Bombay High Court disposes PIL concerning contravention of provisions of Wild Life Act

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The Bombay High Court at Goa disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL)  concerning the contravention of the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

On February 05,  Counsel for the parties submitted that the following agreed order can dispose of this petition. 

a) Respondent Nos. 1 (The station master,  Kalay Railway station) and Respondent Nos. 2 (South Western Railway), without prejudice to their rights and contentions, will apply within one week  to the Chief Wildlife Warden, Goa for permission to handle ore at Kalay Railway Station under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. 

b) Similarly, Shivan Desai stated before the High Court that Respondent No.8 will, without prejudice to its rights and contentions, also apply within one week  to the Chief Wildlife Warden, Goa under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, for transportation of ore from Kalay Railway Station to the Adrem Jetty. 

c) Kantak stated that the 7th Respondent (Private Respondent) has, without prejudice, also applied to the Chief Wildlife Warden, Goa  for permission to transport the ore from Kalay Railway Station to the Adrem Jetty. 

d) The Chief Wildlife Warden, Goa  to consider and dispose of the above applications in accordance with law and on their own merits after granting an opportunity of hearing to the Applicants and the Petitioner therein. Such applications should be disposed of within four weeks from the date of their filing. 

e) The Chief Wildlife Warden must communicate his decision on such applications to all the parties, including the Petitioner. If the Chief Wildlife Warden decides to grant permissions, the same should be made effective after a period of two weeks from the date of their service upon the Petitioner. This means that for a period of two weeks from the date of grant of such permissions, the permission holders will not act on the same. 

f) Respondent Nos.1 and 2 had unloaded 11,500 metric tons of ore at Kalay Railway Station, out of which the 7th and 8th Respondents had already transported 9,526 metric tons of ore to the Adrem Jetty. 

g) The 7th and 8th Respondents are now allowed to transport the balance of 2,025 metric tons of ore from the Kalay Railway Station to the Adrem Jetty. They say that this exercise will be completed within a week from today. Accordingly, this exercise must be completed within a week .

 h) The transporters of ore, as above, shall abide by the transit permit issued by the Directorate of Mines and Geology and the consent granted by the Goa State Pollution Control Board. In particular, Respondent Nos.7 and 8 will have to apply with the Goa (Prevention of Illegal Mining, Storage and Transportation of Minerals) Rules, 2013 and order dated 08.08.2023 issued by the Directorate of Mines and Geology, Government of Goa.

 All contentions of all parties, including the contention that Respondent Nos.1 and 2 and Respondent Nos.7 and 8 not requiring any permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden  are kept open. Nothing in this order is intended to even remotely affect the rights of the Village Panchayat of Kalay to prosecute the Pollution Appeal Nos.1/23 and 2/2023 instituted before the Administrative Tribunal. Such appeals will have to be decided on their own merits and in accordance with the law , the Division Bench of Justice MS Sonak and Justice Valmiki S A Menezes noted.

Respondents agree that until the Chief Wildlife Warden, Goa , decides on the above applications (and if granted, for two weeks of its communication to the Petitioners), there will be no further handling of ore at the Kalay Railway Station other than the transportation of the balance of 2,025 metric tons of ore from the station to the Adrem jetty .

Respondent No.7 is permitted by the High Court to apply to the Railways for waiver of demurrage.  Kantak stated that such an application will be made within a week .

If such an application is made, Respondent Nos.1 and 2 to dispose of this application in accordance with law and on its own merits within two weeks from its receipt , the Court directed.

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