High Court Strongly Criticizes Government’s Inaction on Human-Wildlife Conflict

Nainital: In a significant development, the Uttarakhand High Court conducted a hearing today regarding the ongoing conflict between humans and wildlife. Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Alok Verma led the bench during this crucial proceeding. The court expressed its strong criticism towards the government’s inactive behaviour in addressing this pressing issue. Chief Secretary of Forests, R.K. Sudhanshu, has been summoned to the High Court, and a two-week ultimatum has been given to the government for taking necessary actions. This article provides an in-depth analysis of the hearing, shedding light on the court’s observations, the history of the case, and the government’s failure to comply with previous orders.

The Court’s Critique of Government Inaction:

The Uttarakhand High Court, in its recent order, made it abundantly clear that the government has not taken any substantial action to prevent human-wildlife conflict, despite previous directives. The court expressed its dissatisfaction with the government’s lack of initiative and emphasized the urgent need for effective measures. Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Alok Verma, in their scathing remarks, highlighted the gravity of the situation and the dire consequences of government inaction.

 Government’s Failure to Comply with Court Orders:

During the previous hearing in November 2022, the High Court had directed the Chief Secretary of Forests to form a committee comprising experts with practical experience in tackling human-wildlife conflict on the ground. This committee was meant to devise a comprehensive strategy to address the issue effectively. However, the government failed to comply with the court’s order and did not form the committee within the stipulated timeframe.

 Lack of Strategy to Address the Situation:

The court further pointed out that the affidavit submitted by Chief Forest Conservator Vinod Singhal, representing the government, lacked a clear strategy to tackle the problem. The affidavit primarily mentioned paper-based actions, which were deemed insufficient to address the real challenges faced on the ground. The court emphasized the need for practical solutions and stressed that a mere paperwork approach would not yield tangible results in mitigating the human-wildlife conflict.

 Government’s Request for Additional Time:

When the case was brought back to the court’s attention, the government itself admitted to its failure in complying with the previous order to form the expert committee. Requesting more time, the government sought an opportunity to rectify its non-compliance. Considering the government’s request, the High Court granted an extension, allowing the government an additional timeframe to fulfill its obligations.

The Court’s Ultimatum and Summoning of Chief Secretary of Forests:

Expressing its deep concern over the lack of progress, the Uttarakhand High Court issued a two-week ultimatum to the government, emphasizing the urgency of the situation. The court expects the government to take immediate and effective action to prevent human-wildlife conflict. Chief Secretary of Forests, R.K. Sudhanshu, has also been summoned to the High Court to provide necessary explanations and updates on the government’s progress in resolving the issue.

Future Hearing and Expected Outcomes:

The next hearing in this critical case has been scheduled for June 14, 2023. The court anticipates significant progress from the government within the given two-week period and expects concrete steps to mitigate the conflict between humans and wildlife. The court’s focus remains on safeguarding the interests of both parties involved while ensuring the protection of wildlife and the safety of human inhabitants.

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