The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday held that Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR) Ltd., which is controlled by the State Government, was not required to take permission from the Central Government under the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act to commence and operate eco-tourism activities in forest area.
A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Suraj Govindaraj, passed the order while dismissing a PIL petition, filed by P.S. Mohan and four other residents of Kushalnagar in Kodagu district. The petitioners had questioned establishment of eco-tourism activities by JLR at Dubare forest area in Kushalnagar.
Claiming that the lodges are among non-forest activities, the petitioners had contended that JLR is carrying out these activities sans approval of the Union government under Section 2 (3) of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
However, the he Bench noticed that the permission, under Section 2(3) of the Forest (Conservation) Act from the Central Government, is required for assigning forest area by way of lease “to any private person or to any authority, corporation, agency or any other organisation not owned, managed or controlled by Government.”
JLR, being an agency controlled by the State Government, was not required to take permission from the Central Government for the non-forest activities, the Bench said. The Bench a cost of cost of ₹50,000 on the petitioners for wasting the time of the court.
It was contended on behalf of the State Government that JLR was established by the Departments of Forests and Tourism for promoting and providing eco-tourism facilities, and a senior officer of the cadre of Indian Forest Service holds the posts of managing director of the JLR.
Source: Read Full Article