With the Centre formally notifying fresh guidelines on tiger conservation, the Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the decks for resumption of tourism activities in the areas reserved for the wild cat.
A bench of justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar gave the green signal for resumption of tourism activities, modifying its July 24 order by which it had earlier halted all tourism related activities in Tiger reserve areas.
While lifting its interim ban on tourism activities in the core tiger reserve areas, the apex court, however, added, "We make it clear that we have not held the guidelines either intra-vires (constitutionally valid) or ultra-vires (unconstitutional)."
Writing the order, Justice Patnaik said the tourism activities in the Tiger reserve areas henceforth would be strictly in accordance with the notification on tiger conservation, issued by the National Tiger Conservation Authority on October 15.
The court also directed the respective state governments to prepare the Tiger conservation plan within six months from Tuesday and submit the same to the tiger conservation authority.
The bench said any party aggrieved by the notification will have the liberty to challenge the same before the appropriate authority.
The bench's direction came after Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising informed the court that the notification was formally issued on October 15 for 41 tiger reserves across the country.
The court on October 9 had allowed the Centre to notify within a week its fresh guidelines on tiger conservation. Earlier on July 24, the court had banned all tourist activities in the core areas of tiger reserves on a public interest litigation filed by conservationist Ajay Dubey. The PIL had demanded removal of commercial tourism activities from core or critical tiger habitats in the tiger reserves.