The Delhi High Court in the case Divender v. LG of Delhi observed and has restrained the city forest department from conducting a ‘Walkathon’ event which is proposed to be held inside the city’s Asola Bhati Wildlife Sanctuary, till further orders by the court.
The bench headed by Justice Jasmeet Singh in the case stated while pronouncing the order that the respondent are restrained from conducting the proposed event till further orders.
The court observed and had reserved its verdict in the matter on December 05, 2023.
The bench headed by Justice Singh in the case observed and has expressed the concerns about the safety of the people during the event amid the presence of leopards there.
The court in the case asked the city forest department as to how it could expose people to such a risk by organizing the event inside the wildlife sanctuary when the department is not aware of the whereabouts of the leopards.
The bench headed by Justice Singh in the case observed and has informed the counsel appearing for the forest department that how do you expose people to that? You do not know about their [leopards’] whereabouts. You are hoping that they are shy animals and you are hoping that this [sanctuary] is not an area where they will come. This kind of an adventure cannot be.
It has also been submitted by the counsel appearing for the forest department that the Walkathon is being organized on the existing tracks and took the court through the proposal of the event, which includes the number of people allowed to participate.
Therefore, the Amici Curiae Advocates Gautam Narayan and Aditya N Prasad in the case observed and has referred to recent news reports stating that a leopard had been escaped and was spotted in the Sainik Farms area.
It has also been informed by the Narayan to the Court that the wildlife sanctuary houses various wild animals like hyena and other snakes like pythons. He in the case stated that the people are participating in the event we will be entering the protected zone where the flora and fauna are flourishing in the sanctuary.
The court while hearing the submissions of both sides observed and has reserved the judgement in the plea moved concerning the issue of conservation of the Southern Ridge and removal of encroachments from there.
The court in the case observed and has asked the forest department to show as to how the decision was taken to organise the event in question inside the sanctuary, while observing that it was not Masai Mara or Serengeti.
Further, the counsel appearing for the forest submitted before the court that had then assured the court that the decision was taken at the highest level and that the event was aimed at introducing and creating awareness amongst people about the flora and fauna present in the sanctuary.