Re: TN Godavarman Thirumulpad vs Union Of India (In Re: Gaurav Kumar Bansal) 2024 INSC 178 – Jim Corbett National Park – Tiger Safari

Summary: SC directed Constitution of a committee to give recommendations on effective management and protection of the Tiger Reserves.

Public Trust Doctrine – Executive acting under the doctrine of public trust cannot abdicate the natural resources and convert them into private ownership, or for commercial use. The aesthetic use and the pristine glory of the natural resources, the environment and the ecosystems of our country cannot be permitted to be eroded for private, commercial or any other use unless the courts find it necessary, in good faith, for the public good and in public interest to encroach upon the said resources – Referred to Tata Housing Development Company Limited v. Aalok Jagga (2020) 15 SCC 784=2019 INSC 1203 , Association for Environment Protection v. State of Kerala (2013) 7 SCC 226=2013 INSC 413 and M.C. Mehta v. Kamal Nath (1997) 1 SCC 388=1996 INSC 1482. (Para 134-137)

Principle of Ecological Restitution – A reversal of environmental damage in conformity with the principle under Article 8(f) of the CBD is what is required. At times, the compensatory afforestation permits forestation at some other site. However, the principle of restoration of damaged ecosystem would require the States to promote the recovery of threatened species. We are of the considered view that the States would be required to take steps for the identification and effective implementation of active restoration measures that are localized to the particular ecosystem that was damaged. The focus has to be on restoration of the ecosystem as close and similar as possible to the specific one that was damaged. (Para 156)

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