Biological Diversity Act: NGT issues warrants agnst states,UTs

New Delhi, Aug 18 (PTI) Taking strong exception toofficials of several states and UTs not appearing before itduring proceedings on protection of biodiversity, the NationalGreen Tribunal has issued bailable warrants against theirResident Commissioners here. The green panel was carrying out proceedings on a pleaalleging that various states and union territories have"failed" to pay attention to the unique biodiversity of thecountry and sought implementation of provisions of BiologicalDiversity Act, 2002 and Biological Diversity Rules, 2004. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumarissued bailable warrant against the Resident Commissioners ofGujarat, Karnataka, Manipur, Mizoram, Odisha, Punjab andTripura for not appearing before it despite issuance ofnotice. It also issued warrants against the officers ofChandigarh, Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep and Puducherry. "Despite service, nobody appears on behalf of Respondents…Consequently, we issue bailable warrant against ResidentCommissioners of these Respondents in the sum of Rs 10,000each to the satisfaction of the arresting Officer, in exerciseof 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 M S Nambiar, said. The bench fixed the next hearing on September 29 on theplea filed by Pune resident Chandra Bhal Singh. The tribunal had earlier issued notices to Ministry ofEnvironment and Forests (MoEF), National BiodiversityAuthority and State Biodiversity Boards in the matter. The Biological Diversity Act 2002 aims at preservingbiological diversity in India and provides mechanism forequitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use oftraditional biological resources and knowledge. Singh had alleged that various states have not only"failed" to pay proper attention to the unique biodiversityprevalent in India, but also not undertaken their statutoryobligations with "seriousness and have remained oblivious indischarging the statutory provision in last couple of years." Seeking setting up of Biodiversity ManagementCommittees (BMCs) at the local level in every state underSection 41 of Biological Biodiversity Act 2002, the pleaclaimed that several State Biodiversity Boards have notconstituted the BMCs for "promoting conservation, sustainableuse and documentation of biological diversity". It had further said the People’s Biodiversity Register, adocument which records the diversity of flora and fauna, hasalso not been prepared by the BMCs in many states. PTI PKSARC

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