Comments On Critical Wildlife Habitats
May 25, 2011: Background: The Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) first formulated Guidelines for notification of Critical Wildlife Habitats (CWH) under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA) on 27th October 2007.
Later, this was withdrawn and revised Guidelines that were largely in conformity with applicable laws were issued on 7th February, 2011. However, these were again withdrawn, and the third version of the Guidelines has now been formulated. The stated objective of the revised draft guidelines put up for suggestions on 04-05-2011, are to finalize an implementation protocol that details the procedure for determining and notifying Critical Wildlife Habitats (CWH) within National Parks and Sanctuaries following due process of law.
In their present form, the procedures outlined in the draft guidelines may not be in full compliance with law and constitutional provisions. We wish to point out that CWH are being carved out of Protected Areas (PAs) that have already been notified, and are presently being governed under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA), which remains in force. The recognition of Rights within such PAs and the notification of CWH involve the FRA, 2006. Acquisition of such rights is deemed to be for a public purpose under the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 (LAA). Therefore, it is mandatory to read and interpret the WLPA, the FRA and the LAA while formulating guidelines on this issue. The Ministry of Environment & Forests is duty bound to act as an impartial arbiter and ensure that the provisions of the WLPA, 1972 are notglossed over by a narrow reading of certain clauses of the FRA, 2006. Dowland the complete report in pdf format here.
Source: Praveen Bhargav, Wildlife First, Bangalore.