Conserving protected areas and wildlife: a judicial journey

In the national context, the role of environment law in fostering sustainable development is significant. For this
purpose, WWF India established the Centre for Environmental law in 1993 to strengthen the professional and educational support base for environmental law and policy in India. The Centre for Environmental Law is a unique experiment in institution building which combines research and education with legal activism. To address environmental issues in various ecologically important areas, the Centre for Environmental Law instituted cases
ranging from protection of biological hotspots like Bhittarkanika in Orissa to getting a better protection status for
the Delhi ridge in respective High Courts. Through these cases and other studies it was felt that the provisions of the Act under which the Protected Areas of our country have been notified are not being implemented to secure them. Thus CEL filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court in 1995. This legal intervention brought the issue of the status of our national parks and sanctuaries to the forefront. It generated significant concern on how these biologically important areas
were being managed. The case has had immense impacts on the ground in the way our PAs are managed. This publication, in collaboration with Enviro Legal Defence Firm, is an attempt to understand the impacts that this public interest litigation has had at the National and State level.