Nainital: The Uttarakhand High Court has stayed a recent state government order denotifying the Shivalik Elephant Reserve. A high court's division bench of Chief Justice R S Chauhan and Justice Manoj Tiwari stayed the government order on Monday saying that it went against the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act 1980. Shivalik Elephant Reserve is the only elephant reserve in Uttarakhand. The government order was issued on Friday despite the high court putting a stay on the state wildlife board''s recommendation for de-notification of the reserve the same day.
Official sources in Dehradun said the state government was not aware of the high court''s stay on the board''s recommendation at the time of issuing the order denotifying the reserve. Earlier, 80 people had written a letter to the chief justice pleading to stop the scrapping of Shivalik Range by the state government. After that, a public interest lawsuit was filed stating that it would be a cruelty to destroy the elephant''s natural habitat.
The scrapping of the Shivalik Elephant Reserve is being done for giving a boost to development activities in the area, including the expansion of the Jollygrant airport. Earlier, another division bench of the high court had issued notices to the central and state governments and the state's Wildlife Board and had sought their stands on the plea challenging the proposed de-notification of the reserve. The lawsuit was filed by environment activist Reenu Phul. —PTI