NEW DELHI: Taking strong exception to officials of several states and Union Territories not appearing before it during proceedings on protection of biodiversity, the National Green Tribunal has issued bailable warrants against their Resident Commissioners in New Delhi.
The green panel was carrying out proceedings on a plea alleging that various states and union territories have “failed” to pay attention to the unique biodiversity of the country and sought implementation of provisions of Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and Biological Diversity Rules, 2004.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued bailable warrant against the Resident Commissioners of Gujarat, Karnataka, Manipur, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab and Tripura for not appearing before it despite issuance of notice.
It also issued warrants against the officers of Chandigarh, Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.
“Despite service, nobody appears on behalf of Respondents …Consequently, we issue bailable warrant against Resident Commissioners of these Respondents in the sum of Rs. 10,000 each to the satisfaction of the arresting Officer, in exercise of our powers and in terms of the provision of Section 19 (4) (a) of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010…,” the bench, which also comprised Justice MS Nambiar, said.
The bench fixed the next hearing on September 29 on the plea filed by Pune resident Chandra Bhal Singh.
The tribunal had earlier issued notices to Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), National Biodiversity Authority and State Biodiversity Boards in the matter.
The Biological Diversity Act 2002 aims at preserving biological diversity in India and provides mechanism for equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of traditional biological resources and knowledge.
Mr Singh had alleged that various states have not only “failed” to pay proper attention to the unique biodiversity prevalent in India, but also not undertaken their statutory obligations with “seriousness and have remained oblivious in discharging the statutory provision in last couple of years.”
Seeking setting up of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) at the local level in every state under Section 41 of Biological Biodiversity Act 2002, the plea claimed that several State Biodiversity Boards have not constituted the BMCs for “promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity”.
It had further said the People’s Biodiversity Register, a document which records the diversity of flora and fauna, has also not been prepared by the BMCs in many states.