The High Court requests information on seven wetlands in J&K and Ladakh that have been designated as Ramsar sites
The High Court requests information on seven wetlands in J&K and Ladakh that have been designated as Ramsar sites

Nov. 20, Srinagar: On Monday, the High Court gave the Jammu and Kashmir administration one last chance to submit a report outlining the condition of seven wetlands that have been designated as Ramsar Sites in J&K and Ladakh and acknowledged as being of worldwide significance.
In hearing a suo moto Public Interest Litigation (PIL), a division bench of Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice M A Chowdhary noted that the J&K government has not yet filed the status report despite the court’s September 9th, 2017 order, calling it a “serious lapse.”

It added that the same had been submitted by the Union Territory of Ladakh.
The bench said, “We are of the view that failure to file a status report by the Union Territory of J&K is a serious lapse, considering the importance attached to the issue and the desire of the Supreme Court to have the matter monitored by this court.”
The court warned that “failure to do so will result in appropriate penal action against those responsible” while giving the Jammu and Kashmir administration one more chance to submit the report.


In the course of the court’s amicus curiae hearings, Nadeem Qadri referenced an article headlined “Anchar Lake in Death Traces” that was published in Greater Kashmir on July 23 of this year and argued that the court needed to step in right away to save the lake.
Greater Kashmir said that Anchar Lake in Srinagar, which was previously renowned for its pristine waters, was in danger of disappearing due to years of neglect by the government and the avarice of dishonest individuals.
The court requested the government include a statement on the present state of the Anchar Lake in its status report and asked the amicus curiae to provide any relevant documents in response to their submission.

In accordance with the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, four wetlands in J&K and Ladakh were first designated as Ramsar sites after being determined to be of worldwide significance.
These days, Hokersar, Wular Lake, Shalbugh, and Haigam in the Kashmir Valley, Tso Moriri and Tso Kar in Ladakh, and Surinsar-Mansar lakes in Jammu are among the seven wetlands recognized by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.

In accordance with the Supreme Court’s directives on April 3, 2017, the J&K High Court considered petitioner M. K Balakrishnan’s affidavit, which was submitted to the top court concerning specific wetlands protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, as a public interest lawsuit (PIL).
In order to make sure that the Ramsar Convention sites within their jurisdiction were adequately maintained, the top court had urged the chief justices of the relevant high courts to consider the affidavit as a suo moto PIL.

Following the instructions, the High Court of J&K registered the affidavit as a public interest lawsuit (PIL) on August 28, 2018, in response to the court’s motion. In this order, the court emphasized the need for a regulatory mechanism to be established for all wetlands in order to preserve their ecological character and, eventually, to support their integrated management in the three regions (Kashmir, Jammu, and Ladakh) of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change was required by the court to file an action report on these wetlands in a previous ruling.

The Supreme Court, addressing the issue of wetlands under “Ramsar Conservation Sites,” ordered all States and Union Territories to develop new wetland regulations and stressed the need for managing wetlands. The Central Government has identified two lakh wetlands nationwide.

Twelve thirty wetlands have been classified in the state as “Ramsar Conservation Sites,” according to the “Atlas Ecology and Remote Sensing” of the state. Rule 5 of the relevant regulations states that management of wetlands requires the establishment of authority.



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