Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Tuesday sought report from the state authorities over measures taken to preserve wetlands in the state.
Hearing a suo motu petition, as per the direction of Supreme Court, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Tashi Rabstan directed state government to file a report on steps being taken for preservation of wetlands in the state, within one week, after Additional Advocate General, Asifa Padroo requested court to grant more time for filing the report.
The High Court has taken up the issue by initiating a PIL, suo motu, after the Supreme Court on April 3, 2017 directed all high courts to monitor the progress and management of wetland areas and to monitor public funds spent for this purpose by the government. The Government of India was also asked to take adequate measures for preservation of the nearly 2 lakh wetlands in the country.
The court treated an order of the apex court in a writ petition (civil no.230/2017 titled M K Balakrishanan vs Union of India) as PIL, on its own motion on wetlands vs J&K state & others.
The petitioner, M K Balakrishanan and others, apprehend that there is a possibility that some of the wetlands may disappear with the passage of time, due to neglect and indifference by the authorities, who may connive at constant encroachment.
“We have put it to the counsel for the petitioner that in so far as the Ramsar Convention sites are concerned, since they are matters of international heritage, it might be more appropriate if the concerned high courts monitor the management of these sites at least till there is some visible improvement,” the Supreme Court in its April 3, 2017 order said.
Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. It is also known as convention on wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the convention was signed in 1971.