“Elephant is a gentleman”: Supreme court to form expert committee to observe illegal Corridor construction
On Wednesday, A Supreme Court bench comprising of CJI SA Bobde, J Abdul Nazeer and J Sanjiv Khanna today heard a long pending matter regarding Elephant Corridors across the country, notably in Nilgiri hills & Rajaji National park.
They also noted that, “The elephant is a gentleman, and man should give way for them.
The issues before the court were whether construction of buildings along these Elephant corridors were legal or not, and whether those who have been in possession of land in these areas deserved compensation if they were to be evicted. The first issue encompassed the questions regarding declaration of areas as forest land, notifications regarding specific parts as corridors and the subsequent purpose of forests after being declaring as above.
The Supreme court took the report filed by A. D. N. Rao to steal hundreds of buildings, excluding tribal houses. Rao argued the court to uphold the notification of the corridor & dismiss the plea challenging the action report prepared by Nilgiris Districts collector highlighting illegal resorts.
Senior Advocate Salman Khurshid appeared for people who own land in the Gopapuram area of Nilgiri and urged that the particular area had not been declared corridor. He went on to argue that if the court comes to the conclusion that the area was a corridor, those who owned land there for a long time must be given a replacement in lieu of eviction. Compensation, essentially, as clarified by CJI Bobde.
the Bench, through CJI Bobde, made it quite clear that they were of the opinion that resorts cannot be allowed in forests and asked resort owners who suggested coexistence between man and elephant why they (men) were in the forest at all.
The bench proposed the appointment of three-member committee headed by the former high court judge to inspect the Nilgiris area of the state. This committee is to include one Retired High Court judge and 2 experts. These experts must be agreed upon by the parties involved, and their names must be submitted to the bench through a joint statement. The formal order has been reserved and will be passed next week.