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SC: Deadline for resorts built in the Nilgiri Elephant Corridor

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The Supreme Court upheld the Madras HC order affirming the right of animals to travel. The apex court also directed the formation of a committee to look into complaints on the matter.

The Supreme Court (SC) on October 14, 2020 upheld the orders of the Madras High Court (HC) in 2011 on the Nilgiri Elephant Corridor.

In August 2018, the Supreme Court ordered the Tamil Nadu government to close 11 hotels and resorts built in the Elephant Corridor in the Nilgiri hills within the next 48 hours in violation of the law. The court took this decision after hearing another petition on the same subject.

A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur directed the resorts and hotels to submit their documents to the District Collector within 24 hours. If the collector comes to the conclusion that the resort or hotel was built without prior permission on certification, it should be closed within the same 48 hours.

In July 2011, the Madras High Court declared that the Central Government’s ‘Project Elephant’, as well as the Government of Tamil Nadu, had full authority under Article 51A (g) of the Constitution to inform the Elephant Corridor in the Nilgiris district of the state. .

The Elephant Corridor is located in the Masinagudi area near the Mudumalai National Park in the Nilgiris District.

“The apex court bench of S Abdul Nazir and Sanjeev Khanna dismissed the special leave petition filed by the Mudumalai Others Hospitality Association against the Madras High Court judgment 2011,” advocate Vishal Sinha said in the case. The court allowed the resort owners in the corridor space to set up a committee headed by a retired high court judge and two other people to hear the personal objections of private landowners.

“Most of the petitioners have argued that they have adequate permits to operate their resorts and are residents of residential areas. The SC has expressed its desire to appoint a three-member inquiry committee to look into the grievances of all petitioners and to call for the demolition or rehabilitation of any institutions,” Sinha told the media.

Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde said at the last hearing in the case in January 2020 that “the region is a fragile ecosystem where the will of men must lead to elephants”.

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