Wildlife, Forests, Protected Areas, Land Use, Wetlands
Asiatic Wild Buffalo is reported to be the most impressive and magnificent animal in the world. Learned Amicus Curiae had moved this Court seeking a direction to the Union of India and the State of Chhattisgarh to prepare a rescue plan to save Wild Buffalo, an endangered specie from extinction and to make available necessary funds and resources required for the said purpose and also for a direction to take immediate steps to ensure that interbreeding between the wild and domestic buffalo does not take place and the genetic purity of the wild species is maintained. Steps taken by the State of Chhattisgarh to preserve and conserve the wild buffalo which was declared as a State Animal was far from satisfactory. When the matter came up for final hearing, the counsel appearing for the MoEF made available a copy of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of 2009 (CSS) titled "Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats". The Scheme was formulated during the Eleventh Five Year Plan. The State of Chhattisgarh, in the instant case, had pointed out that they could not effectively give effect to some of the programmes for preservation and conservation of wild buffalo due to lack of funds. This court viewed that the subjects 'forest' and 'protection of animals and birds' are in the concurrent list of the Constitution and it is the fundamental duty of every citizen of India under Article 51A(g) of the Constitution to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife. It is to achieve the above objective and also to give effect to the purpose of the object of the Act that the Central Government has sponsored "the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats". As per the Scheme and the Act, the State Government is empowered to notify conservation reserves and community reserves for protecting the landscape, seascapes, flora and fauna and their habitat. This court disposed of this application with the direction to the State of Chhattisgarh to give effect fully the Centrally Sponsored Scheme -"the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats", so as to save wild buffalo from extinction. The State also would take immediate steps to ensure that interbreeding between wild and domestic buffalos does not take place and genetic purity of the wild species is maintained. Applications were disposed of.