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Gujarat High Court directs petitioner to approach National Green Tribunal regarding allotment of land in wildlife sanctuary

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The Gujarat High Court while opining that the petitioners should press the matter before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) , disposed of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) with regard to allotment of land within a wild life sanctuary contrary to the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, the Indian Forest Act, 1927, the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and the Forest (Conservation) Rules, 1981 as also the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and the Rules framed thereunder.

The grievance raised by the petitioners is with regard to allotment of the land within the sanctuary by extending salt mining leases.

It has been brought before the High Court that the issue being raised herein is subject matter of consideration before the National Green Tribunal in Original Application of 2023. The National Green Tribunal has constituted a Joint Committee to submit a factual report.

It is further submitted that the report of the Joint Committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal pursuant to the order dated 22.02.2023 in Original Application of 2023 and the order dated 24.04.2023 in Original Application of 2023 has already been submitted before the National Green Tribunal.

Having perused the copy of the order passed by the National Green Tribunal dated 24.04.2023 and 19.07.2023, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Sunita Agarwal and Justice Aniruddha P. Mayee dispose of the petition with the observation that the issues raised herein can very well be taken care of by the National Green Tribunal, Western Zone Bench, Pune.

“As the matter would require a factual inquiry in our considered opinion, the appropriate course for the petitioners would be to press the matter before the National Green Tribunal. There is no need to go into the merits of the case. The writ petition is accordingly disposed of. All pending applications for joining party do not survive and they are accordingly disposed of”, the order read.

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