Centre takes u turn in forest matter in Supreme Court

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New Delhi, Sep 23 (UNI) Taking a U-turn, the Centre has informed the Supreme Court that it does not want to press its applications praying for winding up of the apex court bench monitoring forest matters, involving large scale cutting of trees as well as encroachments on forest land by the timber and land mafia in collusion with the forest officials.

Solicitor General of India G E Vahanvati on Friday told a bench comprising Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, and Justices Arijit Pasayat and S H Kapadia that the centre was no longer intrested in seeking review of all the order passed by the Supreme Court since 1996.

Earlier the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, in its application, had also sought dissolution of Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) and the court had rejected the application of the centre, opposing the extension of the term of CEC.

Then Additional Solicitor General Vikas Singh had told the Supreme Court that it was passing orders beyond its jurisdiction and that the centre was also concerned with the forests in the country.

Mr Singh was later withdrawn from the case by the government to avoid open confrontation with the highest court of the land .

On Friday, senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing as amicus curiae, told the bench that the centre's application was an attack both on the court as well as on the amicus.

Aprroximately 1700 applications have been filed in the case during the pendency of Public Intrest Litigation (PIL), praying that the court lay down appropiate guidelines to protect the forests of the country which are fast disappearing due to massive deforestation by the timber and land mafia.

The stand of the government was that it has sufficient expertise and infrastructure to look after the forest in the country and the forest area has increased under the surveillance of the government and the orders passed by this court on the basis of the arguments of legal experts who have no knowledge of forest were creating more problem for government.

UNI

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