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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Forest Act, 1927, Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and Tamil Nadu Hill Stations Preservation of Trees Act and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. - PIL - Apex court gave some directions in interlocutory application =T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad …Petitioner(s) VERSUS Union Of India & ORS. …Respondent(s) = 2014 (March. Part)judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41309

 Forest   Act,   1927,   Forest (Conservation)  Act,  1980  and   Tamil   Nadu   Hill   Stations  Preservation of Trees Act and the Environment (Protection)  Act, 1986. - PIL - Apex court gave some directions  in interlocutory application =

   Writ Petition (C) No. 202 of 1995  was  filed  as  a  PIL  under
           Article 32 of the Constitution of India for and on behalf of the
           people living in and around the Nilgiri Forest  on  the  Western
           Ghats.  The petitioner sought to challenge the legality and  the
           validity of  the  actions  of  the  State  of  Tamil  Nadu,  the
           Collector, Nilgiris District and the  District  Forest  Officer,
           Gudalur  and  the  Timber  Committee  represented  through   the
           Collector, Nilgiris (Respondent Nos. 2 to  5  respectively),  in
           destroying the tropical rain forest in the Gudalur  and  Nilgiri
           areas  in  violation   of   the   Forest   Act,   1927,   Forest
           (Conservation)  Act,  1980  and   Tamil   Nadu   Hill   Stations
           Preservation of Trees Act and the Environment (Protection)  Act,
           1986. This, according to the petitioner, has resulted in serious
           ecological imbalances affecting  lives  and  livelihood  of  the
           people living in the State of Tamil Nadu.=


Upon consideration of the entire  matter  at
        length, we accept the recommendations made by  the  CEC  reproduced
        above.  We, however, modify the direction 11(iv) as under:-
           The National CAMPA Advisory Council  (NCAC)  will  finalize  and
           issue guidelines before 1st May, 2014 regarding  the  activities
           for which the use of the CAMPA funds  will  not  be  permissible
           (such as foreign study tours) and the  activities  for  which  a
           ceiling on the use of  the  CAMPA  funds  will  apply  (such  as
           purchase of vehicles and construction of  residential  /  office
           buildings).
           These guidelines will be strictly followed by the State CAMPA.
           The same shall be treated as  directions  of  this  Court.   The
      order dated 10th July, 2009 is modified accordingly.
    32. The Ad-hoc CAMPA is permitted to release annual amount equal to 10%
        of the principal amount lying to the  credit  of  each  State/Union
        Territory, out of the interest receivable by it  with  effect  from
        financial year 2014-2015 onwards.  The  release  of  the  aforesaid
        funds shall be subjected to the conditions enumerated above.
    33. It is further directed that no money out of the  amounts  available
        with Ad-hoc CAMPA will be transferred or utilized without the leave
        of this Court. It is  further  directed  that  the  National  CAMPA
        Advisory Council will file a Status Report within a period of three
        months regarding the monitoring and evaluation of the  works  being
        undertaken, by utilizing the funds released by CAMPA.
    34. The Interlocutory Applications are disposed of with  the  aforesaid
        directions.

2014 (March. Part)judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41309            A.K. PATNAIK, SURINDER SINGH NIJJAR, FAKKIR MOHAMED IBRAHIM KALIFULLA       

       REPORTABLE




                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                         CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION




    I.A. NOS. 2143 WITH 2283, 3088, 3461, 3479, 3693 IN 2143, 827, 1122,
                1337, 1473 AND 1620 AND 1693 IN 1473 AND 3618


                                     IN


                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 202 OF 1995


T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad                     …Petitioner(s)

                                   VERSUS

Union Of India & ORS.                         …Respondent(s)

                               J U D G M E N T
      SURINDER SINGH NIJJAR, J.


        1. This order will dispose of the I. As. noted above.
        2. Writ Petition (C) No. 202 of 1995  was  filed  as  a  PIL  under
           Article 32 of the Constitution of India for and on behalf of the
           people living in and around the Nilgiri Forest  on  the  Western
           Ghats.  The petitioner sought to challenge the legality and  the
           validity of  the  actions  of  the  State  of  Tamil  Nadu,  the
           Collector, Nilgiris District and the  District  Forest  Officer,
           Gudalur  and  the  Timber  Committee  represented  through   the
           Collector, Nilgiris (Respondent Nos. 2 to  5  respectively),  in
           destroying the tropical rain forest in the Gudalur  and  Nilgiri
           areas  in  violation   of   the   Forest   Act,   1927,   Forest
           (Conservation)  Act,  1980  and   Tamil   Nadu   Hill   Stations
           Preservation of Trees Act and the Environment (Protection)  Act,
           1986. This, according to the petitioner, has resulted in serious
           ecological imbalances affecting  lives  and  livelihood  of  the
           people living in the State of Tamil Nadu.

        3. The petitioner has highlighted  that  the  respondents  have  in
           collusion with certain vested interests allowed  trespassers  to
           encroach and enter upon the  forest  land  for  the  purpose  of
           felling trees and conversion of forest  land  into  plantations.
           It was pointed out that the encroachers on the forest land  have
           been indiscriminately cutting  and  removing  valuable  Rosewood
           trees, Teak trees and Ayni trees, which are  immensely  valuable
           and are found exclusively  in  the  aforesaid  forest.   It  was
           pointed out that loss of  such  trees  would  be  permanent  and
           irreparable to the present and future generations to come.   The
           petitioner has  clearly  pleaded  that  the  value  attached  to
           Rosewood and Teak wood has resulted in  a  mad  rush  by  timber
           contractors in collusion with Government  agencies,  for  making
           quick profits without any regard to  the  permanent  damage  and
           destruction caused to the rain forest and to the  eco-system  of
           the region.  The petitioner also pointed out  that  cutting  and
           removing of trees is not limited only to the mature  trees.   In
           their anxiety to make huge profits the entire forest  areas  are
           being  cleared,  by  indiscriminate  felling  of   trees.    The
           petitioner also pointed out that the national policy adopted  in
           the year 1952 provided for the protection  and  preservation  of
           forests.  The existence of large areas  of  land  covered  under
           forest is recognized as  a  valuable  segment  of  the  national
           heritage.  The petitioner also pointed out that  the  protection
           from exploitation of forests, in particular natural forests,  is
           imperative as such forests once destroyed can not be regenerated
           to their natural state.  The petitioner  has  pleaded  that  the
           destruction  of  rain  forests  would   adversely   affect   the
           environment, eco-system, the plants and  animals  living  within
           the forests.  This would result in such destruction, which would
           ultimately result in drastic changes in the environment and  the
           quality of life of people living in and around the forests.  The
           petitioner also highlighted that although  the  national  policy
           has provided that 33% of the land mass of India shall be covered
           with forests, the present extent of the forest covered areas was
           below 15%.  The natural rain forest cover was  only  around  5%.
           Such meager forest cover had led to the enactment of the  Forest
           (Conservation) Act, 1980.  Statement of objects and  reasons  of
           the aforesaid Act is as follows:-
           (1)   Deforestation causes ecological  imbalance  and  leads  to
                 environmental deterioration. Deforestation had been  taking
                 place on a large scale in the country  and  it  had  caused
                 widespread concern.


           (2)    With  a  view  to  checking  further  deforestation,  the
                 President promulgated on the 25th October, 1980, the Forest
                 (Conservation) Ordinance,  1980.  The  Ordinance  made  the
                 prior approval of the Central government necessary for  de-
                 reservation of reserved forests and for use of  forest-land
                 for non-forest purposes. The Ordinance  also  provided  for
                 the constitution of an advisory committee to advise
                 the  Central  Government  with  regard  to  grant  of  such
                 approval.




        4. Apart from pointing out the provisions of the aforesaid Act, the
           petitioner also protested that  the  population  living  in  the
           areas mentioned above is being deprived of the right to live  in
           a clean and pollution free  environment  and,  therefore,  their
           fundamental  rights  protected   under   Article   21   of   the
           Constitution  of  India  are  being  violated.   The  petitioner
           pointed out that the preservation and protection of  forests  is
           recognized as essential for maintaining a  clean  and  pollution
           free environment.  He further pointed out that the rain forests,
           which are found only in the southern part of the  Western  Ghats
           contain several rarest species of plants and  animals  and  also
           the main source of water supply to the rivers flowing  from  the
           Ghats.  The large scale denuding  of  the  green  cover  on  the
           Western Ghats has resulted in shortage of water  in  the  rivers
           and has adversely  affected  the  people  living  on  the  water
           flowing from the rivers.

        5. This apart, it was pointed out that forests are the main  source
           of livelihood for a large number of people, who live within  and
           around the forests.  It was  also  pointed  out  that  the  rain
           forests are the source  of  life  and  the  plants  and  animals
           contained within it are useful  for  enhanced  quality  of  life
           enjoyed by mankind.  The bio-diversity of the  rain  forest,  it
           was emphasized, has to be preserved for  the  welfare  and  well
           being of future generations  of  mankind.   The  petitioner  was
           constrained to move this Court  in  the  present  writ  petition
           being so perturbed by the large scale destruction of the forests
           and other natural resources found in  the  three  States  namely
           Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.  It was lamented that all  the
           protective legislation enacted by Union  of  India  are  nothing
           more than statements in the statute books, in  as  much  as  the
           forest land and its wealth are  being  plundered  everyday.   He
           pointed out that it can no longer be denied that well  organized
           rackets  exist   between   the   forests   authorities,   timber
           contractors and the local authorities which are facilitating the
           cutting and removal of trees and timber in  gross  violation  of
           Forests Conservation Act.  The petitioner has given  details  of
           the manner in which  individuals,  contractors  and  firms  were
           clandestinely permitted to trespass and plunder the forest  area
           for the invaluable Rosewood trees.  It was stated that each tree
           commands a price of Rs.15 to 20 Lakhs in the market.   When  all
           the efforts of all the concerned  individuals,  NGOs  and  other
           social activists failed, the  petitioners  were  constrained  to
           knock on the doors of this Court by way of writ  petition  under
           Article 32 of the Constitution of India.  The  prayers  made  in
           the aforesaid writ petitions are as under:-
           (a)   issue an appropriate writ, order  or  direction  directing
                 the State of Tamil Nadu to take steps to stop  all  felling
                 and clearing activities in the forests of Nilgiris District
                 in the State of Tamil Nadu.


           (b)   issue an appropriate writ, order  or  direction  directing
                 the respondents 2 to 5 to stop conversion of  forest  lands
                 to plantation or other purposes.


           (c)    issue  an  appropriate  writ,  or   direction   directing
                 respondents 2 to 5 to take steps to remove all unauthorised
                 and  illegal  occupants  of  forest  land  in  the  Nilgiri
                 District of Tamil Nadu.


           (d)   issue  an  appropriate  writ,  order  direction  directing
                 respondent 2 to 5 to stop  the  transport  and  removal  of
                 timber from the forests in the Nilgiri District.


           (e)   issue an appropriate writ, order direction  to  appoint  a
                 committee for assessing the damage caused to the forest  in
                 the western ghats in the State of Tamil Nadu, Karntaka  and
                 Keral and in particular the hills of the Nilgiris mountain.


           (f)   Pass such other and further orders.


        6.  Understandably  disturbed  by  the  horrendous  fact  situation
           narrated in the writ petition, this Court issued notice  to  not
           only the concerned States but also to other States.  Thereafter,
           the writ petition is pending.

        7. In this writ  petition,  Interlocutory  Applications  have  been
           filed seeking either general or specific directions in  relation
           to various issues concerning the protection and  improvement  of
           environment. The subjects covered by Interlocutory  Applications
           at various stages ranged  from  protection  of  existing  forest
           cover; improvement in the forest  cover;  protection  of  lakes,
           rivers and wild life; and protection of flora and fauna and  the
           ecological  system  of  the  country.  This   Court   has   been
           continuously  monitoring  the  enforcement  of   the   protected
           measures directed to  be  taken  by  the  various  Central/State
           authorities on the basis of  the  recommendations  made  by  the
           relevant expert bodies.

        8. On 29th October, 2002, this  Court  considered  I.A.         No.
           566, in which this  Court  had  taken  suo-moto  notice  on  the
           Statement of Mr. K.N. Rawal, Additional Solicitor General to the
           effect that the amount collected by various States from the user
           agencies to whom permissions were granted for using forest  land
           for  non-forest  purposes,  was  not  being  utilized  for  such
           compensatory afforestation.  It was pointed out that moneys paid
           by  user  agencies  to  State   Governments   for   compensatory
           afforestation were utilized for such afforestation only  to  the
           extent of 63% of  the  funds  actually  realized  by  the  State
           Governments.  The shortfall even at that time was nearly Rs. 200
           crores.  This Court, therefore, recorded that on the next  date,
           it would consider as to how this shortfall was to be made  good.
           It was directed that the  Ministry  of  Environment  and  Forest
           should formulate a Scheme whereby, whenever  any  permission  is
           granted for  change  of  user  of  forest  land  for  non-forest
           purposes, and one of the conditions of the permission  is  that,
           there   should   be   compensatory   afforestation,   then   the
           responsibility for the same  is  that  of  the  user-agency  and
           should be required to set apart a sum of  money  for  doing  the
           needful.  It was further provided that in such a case, the State
           Governments concerned will have to  provide  or  make  available
           land on which forestation can take place.  This land may have to
           be made available either at the expense of the user-agency or of
           the State Governments, as the State Governments may decide.   It
           was further directed that the scheme which is framed by the MoEF
           should be such as to ensure that afforestation  takes  place  as
           per the permissions which are granted and  there  should  be  no
           shortfall in respect thereto.

        9. It was also brought to the notice of this Court on the basis  of
           the statement placed on record in I.A.Nos.419 and 420  that  the
           funds accumulated  for  diverting  forest  area  for  non-forest
           purposes,   compensatory   afforestation,   although    actually
           received, had not been appropriately utilized. The CEC  examined
           this question. The  report,  inter  alia,  provided  that  there
           should be a change in the manner in which the funds are released
           by the State Governments relating to Compensatory Afforestation.
           The CEC recommended that it  would  be  desirable  to  create  a
           separate fund for Compensatory Afforestation,  wherein  all  the
           money received from the user-agencies are to  be  deposited  and
           subsequently released directly to the implementing  agencies  as
           and when required. The funds received from  a  particular  State
           would be utilized in the same State.

       10. There was a consensus among the States and the Union Territories
           that such a fund be created. It was also  recommended  that  the
           funds should not be a part of general revenues of the  Union  or
           all the States or of the Consolidated Funds of India.   The  CEC
           Report also contemplated the involvement  of  user-agencies  for
           Compensatory Afforestation.

       11. The CEC in its report  dated  5th  September,  2002  made  eight
           recommendations which were accepted by the Union of India in  an
           affidavit filed in response to the aforesaid report.  The  Union
           of  India  further  stated,  in  the   affidavit,   that   major
           institutional reorganization of the present mechanism has to  be
           undertaken. It was proposed that  comprehensive  rules  will  be
           framed which  will  inter  alia  relate  to  the  procedure  and
           compensation.  It was also proposed that there shall be  a  body
           for the management of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF).
           The suggestion of the Union of  India  was  that  CAF  would  be
           composed of a Director General of Forest; Special Secretary, who
           would be  the  ex-officio  Chairman  and  Inspector  General  of
           Forest, who would be the ex-officio Member Secretary. The report
           of the CEC was  accepted  and  this  Court  made  the  following
           recommendations :-
           “(a) The Union of India shall  within  eight  weeks  from  today
           frame comprehensive rules with regard to the constitution  of  a
           body and management of the Compensatory Afforestation  funds  in
           concurrence with the Central Empowered  Committee.  These  rules
           shall be filed in this Court  within  eight  weeks  form  today.
           Necessary notification constituting this  body  will  be  issued
           simultaneously.


           (b) Compensatory Afforestation Funds which  have  not  yet  been
           realised as well as the unspent funds already  realised  by  the
           States shall be transferred to the said body within  six  months
           of its constitution by  the  respective  states  and  the  user-
           agencies.


           (c) In addition to above, while according transfer under  Forest
           Conservation Act, 1980 for change in user-agency from  all  non-
           forest purposes, the user agency shall also pay  into  the  said
           fund the net value of the forest land  diverted  for  non-forest
           purposes. The present value is to be recovered at  the  rate  of
           Rs. 5.80 lakhs per hectare to Rs.  9.20  lakhs  per  hectare  of
           forest land depending upon the quantity and density of the  land
           in question converted for non-forest use. This will  be  subject
           to upward revision by the Ministry of Environment &  Forests  in
           consultation  with  Central  Empowered  Committee  as  and  when
           necessary.


           (d) A 'Compensatory Afforestation  Fund'  shall  be  created  in
           which all the monies received  from  the  user-agencies  towards
           compensatory     afforestation,     additional      compensatory
           afforestation, penal  compensatory  afforestation,  net  present
           value of forest land, Catchment Area Treatment Plan Funds,  etc.
           shall be deposited. The rules, procedure and composition of  the
           body for management of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund shall
           be finalised by the Ministry of Environment & Forests  with  the
           concurrence of Central Empowered Committee within one month.


           (e) The funds received from the  user-agencies  in  cases  where
           forest land diverted falls  within  Protected  Areas  i.e.  area
           notified  under  Section  18,  26A  or  35  of  the  Wild   Life
           (Protection) Act, 1972, for undertaking  activities  related  to
           protection of  bio-diversity,  wildlife,  etc.,  shall  also  be
           deposited in this Fund. Such monies shall  be  used  exclusively
           for  undertaking  protection  and  conservation  activities   in
           protected areas of the respective States/Union Territories.


           (f) The amount received on account of compensatory afforestation
           but not spent or any balance amount lying with the  States/Union
           Territories or any amount that is yet to be recovered  from  the
           use-agency shall also be deposited in this Fund.


           (g) Besides  artificial  regeneration  (plantations),  the  fund
           shall  also  be  utilised  for  undertaking   assisted   natural
           regeneration,  protection   of   forests   and   other   related
           activities. For this purpose, site  .specific  plans  should  be
           prepared and implemented in a time bound manner.


           (h)  The  user  agencies  especially  the  large  public  sector
           undertaking such as Power Grid Corporation, N.T.P.C., etc. which
           frequently require forest land for their projects should also be
           involved   in   undertaking   compensatory   afforestation    by
           establishing Special Purpose Vehicle. Whereas the private sector
           user  agencies  may  be  involved   in   monitoring   and   most
           importantly,  in  protection  of   compensatory   afforestation.
           Necessary procedure for this purpose would be laid down  by  the
           Ministry of Environment & Forests with the  concurrence  of  the
           Central Empowered Committee.


           (i) Plantations must use  local  and  indigenous  species  since
           exotics have long term negative impacts on the environment.


           (j) An independent  system  of  concurrent  monitoring  and
           evaluation shall be evolved  and  implemented  through  the
           Compensatory Afforestation Fund  to  ensure  effective  and
           proper utilisation of funds.”


       12. Keeping in view the aforesaid representation, the MoEF issued  a
           notification on 23rd April, 2004  constituting  a  “Compensatory
           Afforestation Funds Management and Planning  Authority  (CAMPA)”
           as  an  authority  under  Section  3(3)   of   the   Environment
           (Protection) Act, 1986. This notification  provides  that  there
           shall be a governing body. Minister of Environment and  Forests,
           Government of India is the Chairman. Apart from the members  who
           are taken from the level of Secretary,  MoEF  to  the  level  of
           Inspector General of Forest, the governing body also includes an
           eminent professional ecologist, not being from the  Central  and
           the State Government for a period of 2 years of  time,  but  for
           two consecutive terms. The notification  also  provides  for  an
           executive body having seven members  with  Director  General  of
           Forests and Special Secretary, MoEF, Government of India as  the
           Chairman. The notification elaborately provides  the  power  and
           functions of the Governing Body;  power  and  functions  of  the
           Executive Body; Management of the Funds; Disbursement of  funds;
           monitoring and evaluation of works. It also provides that  every
           State or the Union Territory shall have a Steering Committee and
           a  Management  Committee.  It  also  provides  the  powers   and
           functions  of  the  State  Steering  Committee  and  the   State
           Management  Committee.  The  jurisdiction  of   the   CAMPA   is
           throughout India. Unfortunately, the aforesaid notification  has
           only remained on paper and it has not been made functional  till
           date by the MoEF.

       13. This Court again examined the entire issue in  relation  to  the
           decline in environment quality due to increasing pollution, loss
           of  vegetation  cover  and   biological   diversity,   excessive
           concentrations of harmful chemicals in  the  ambient  atmosphere
           and in food chains, growing risk of environmental accidents, and
           threats to life support system, for the protection of which  the
           Environment  (Protection)  Act,  1986  had   been   enacted.   A
           comprehensive  judgment  was  given   in         I.A.No.826   in
           I.A.No.566 in W.P. (C) No.202 1995 on            26th September,
           2005. The Court noticed the statutory  provisions  contained  in
           the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, Environment (Protection) Act,
           1986, and Water Prevention and Control of Pollution  Act,  1974.
           It also noticed that large sums of money which had been  payable
           by user-agencies in cases where approval had  been  granted  for
           diverting  forest  land   that   stipulated   for   compensatory
           afforestation were not being used. It is further noticed by this
           Court that certain rates had been fixed per  hectare  of  forest
           land depending on  the  quality  and  density  of  the  land  in
           question  converted  for  non-forestry   use.   After   detailed
           examination of the issues related to the payment of Net  Present
           Value (NPV)  and  Compensatory  Afforestation  Fund,  the  Court
           upheld the constitutional validity of the payment to CAMPA under
           the notification dated 23rd April, 2004. It was  held  that  the
           payment of NPV is for the  protection  of  environment.  It  was
           further held that the natural resources are not the ownership of
           any one State or individual, public at large is its beneficiary.
           Therefore, the contention that the amount of NPV shall  be  made
           over to the State Government was rejected.

       14. The Court also  constituted  a  Committee  of  Experts  (Kanchan
           Chopra Committee)  to  formulate  a  practical  methodology  for
           determining NPV payable for various categories of forest and the
           project which deserves to be exempted from payment of NPV.

       15. As noticed earlier, huge amount of money received from the user-
           agencies towards the NPV, Compensatory Afforestation  etc.  were
           lying with various authorities without any effective control and
           monitoring  as  the  CAMPA  notification  had  not   been   made
           operational by the MoEF.

       16. The Court reiterated the ratio of M.C.Mehta  Vs.  Kamal  Nath  &
           Ors.[1] that it is the duty of the State to preserve the natural
           resources in their pristine purity. The Doctrine of Public Trust
           was re-enforced. It was emphasized that the Doctrine  of  Public
           Trust is founded on the idea that certain common properties such
           as rivers, seashore,  forest  and  the  air  were  held  by  the
           Government trusteeship for the free and  unimpeded  use  of  the
           general public. It was reiterated that our legal system based on
           English Common Law which includes the Doctrine of  Public  Trust
           as part of its jurisprudence. The State is the  trustee  of  all
           natural resources which are by nature meant for public  use  and
           enjoyment.

       17.  Therefore,  this  Court  recognized  the  need  to   take   all
           precautionary measures  when  forests  land  are  sought  to  be
           diverted for non-forestry use, the creation of CAF was approved.
           In coming to the aforesaid  conclusions,  the  Court  took  into
           consideration intergenerational equity. The State  was  required
           to undertake short term as well as long term  measures  for  the
           protection of the environment.

       18. As noticed earlier, this Court by order dated 28th  March,  2008
           had fixed the rates at which NPV is payable for the non-forestry
           uses of forest land falling in different Eco-classes and density
           sub-classes. The rates vary from Rs.10.43 lakh  per  hectare  to
           Rs.4.38 lakh per hectare. For the use of forest land falling  in
           the National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries, the NPV is  payable
           at 10 times and 5 times respectively of the normal rates of NPV.
           By order dated 9th  May,  2008,  this  Court  has  exempted  the
           payment of NPV for non-forestry use of forest land (a) upto  one
           hectare for construction of schools, hospitals,  village  tanks,
           laying of underground pipe lines  and  electricity  distribution
           lines upto 22 KV, (b) for relocation of villages  from  National
           Parks/Wildlife Sanctuaries, (c) for collection of boulders/silts
           from river beds, (d) for laying  of  underground  optical  fibre
           cables and (e) for pre-1980 regularization of encroachments  and
           has granted 50% exemption for underground mining projects.

       19. Although huge sums of money had been received from user-agencies
           but  there  were  no  effective  checks  and  balances  for  its
           utilization. Therefore, by order dated 5th May, 2006, this Court
           accepted a suggestion made by the CEC submitted in I.A.  No.1473
           for  constitution  of  an  Ad-hoc  body   till   CAMPA   becomes
           operational.  All  State  Governments/Union   Territories   were
           directed to account for and pay the amount collected with effect
           from 30th October, 2002 in conformity with the order dated  29th
           October, 2002 to the aforesaid Ad-hoc body (Ad-hoc  CAMPA).  The
           following two suggestions made by the CEC were accepted:-
           “(a) ensure that all the  monies  recovered  on  behalf  of  the
           ‘CAMPA’ and which are presently lying with the various officials
           of the State Government are transferred to the  bank  account(s)
           to be operated by this body.


           (b) get audited all the monies received form the  user  agencies
           on behalf of the ‘CAMPA’ and the income earned  thereon  by  the
           various  State  Government  officials.  The  auditors   may   be
           appointed by the CAG. The audit may also examine whether  proper
           financial procedure has been following in investing the funds.”


       20. The Chief Secretaries of the State Governments/Administrators of
           Union Territories were directed to  cooperate  with  the  Ad-hoc
           CAMPA as well as the Comptroller and Auditor General. The Ad-hoc
           CAMPA under the Chairmanship of the Director General of  Forests
           and Special Secretary, MoEF and has  (a)  Inspector  General  of
           Forest (FC), MoEF (b) representative of Comptroller and  Auditor
           General of India (c) nominee of the Chairman of the CEC  as  its
           Members. In accordance with the directions of  this  Court,  the
           money already received as  well  as  the  money  being  received
           towards the NPV etc. have  been  transferred  to  the     Ad-hoc
           CAMPA and invested in the fixed deposit with National Banks. The
           money lying with the Ad-hoc CAMPA towards the NPV etc.  received
           from the States (principal amount) and the interest received  on
           the  fixed  deposit  (cumulative  interest)  has   substantially
           increased over a period of  time  and  is  presently  about  Rs.
           30,000 crores.

       21. On 2nd April, 2009, MoEF has issued  “the  guidelines  of  State
           Compensatory  Afforestation   Fund   Management   and   Planning
           Authority (State CAMPA)”. These guidelines have been prepared on
           the basis of the discussions held in the meeting  of  the  Chief
           Secretaries  that  the  objective  to  assist  the  States/Union
           Territories for setting up the requisite mechanism in consonance
           with the directions issued from time to time by this Court.  The
           guidelines are general in nature and can be moulded  keeping  in
           view the specific needs of any particular State/Union Territory.
           The State CAMPA has been set up as an instrument  to  accelerate
           activities for preservation of natural  forests,  management  of
           wildlife, infrastructure development in  the  sector  and  other
           allied works.   By  order  dated  10th  July,  2009  this  Court
           directed that the guidelines and structure of the State CAMPA as
           prepared by MoEF may be notified and implemented. The Court also
           permitted the Ad-hoc CAMPA to release about  Rs.1000  crore  per
           year for the next five  years,  in  proportion  of  10%  of  the
           principal  amount  pertaining  to  the  respective  States/Union
           Territories, inter alia, subject to the condition that the State
           Accountant General shall carry out, on annual basis,  the  audit
           of the expenditure incurred every year out of  the  State  CAMPA
           funds. It was further directed that an amount  upto  5%  of  the
           amount released to the State CAMPA, i.e., upto Rs.50  crore  per
           annum, may also be released and utilized by the  National  CAMPA
           Advisory Council constituted under the Chairmanship of  Ministry
           of Environment and Forest for monitoring and evaluation and  for
           the implementation of the various schemes as given in the  State
           CAMPA guidelines.

       22. The State  CAMPA  has  been  constituted  for  each  State/Union
           Territory.  It  has  a  three-tier  structure.   The   Executive
           Committee functions under  the  Chairmanship  of  the  Principal
           Chief Conservator of Forests is responsible for the  Annual Plan
           of Operation (APO) for various works planned  to  be  undertaken
           during each year. The Steering Committee under the  Chairmanship
           of Chief Secretary is responsible for approving the APO for each
           year. The Chief Minister is the Chairman of the  Governing  Body
           which is responsible for overall guidance and policy issues. The
           Ad-hoc CAMPA releases the funds to each of the State  CAMPAs  as
           per the approved APO. At present, a total sum of  Rs.1000  crore
           is permitted to be released to the State per  year.  The  State-
           wise accounts of the principal amounts and  cumulative  interest
           be maintained by the Ad-hoc CAMPA. The funds are  not  permitted
           to be utilized for any purpose other than  those  authorized  by
           the Court. The administrative expenses of CAMPA are incurred  by
           the CEC.
       23. With the establishment of the Ad-hoc CAMPA, huge sums  of  money
           have accumulated which can be released to the  State  CAMPA  for
           utilization, for protection  and  for  the  improvement  of  the
           national environment. Now the aforesaid applications  have  been
           filed by different States seeking  release  of  some  funds  for
           completing the task of compulsory afforestation, as directed  by
           this Court from time to time. The  relief  claimed  in  all  the
           applications is almost identical. We shall make a  reference  to
           the averments made in I.A.No.3618 of 2013  for  the  purpose  of
           deciding all the applications.

       24. I.A. No. 3618 of 2013 in Writ Petition (C) No. 202 of  1995  has
           been filed by the State of Gujarat with the following prayer:-
           “i.   To direct the Ad-hoc CAMPA to release minimum  of  10%  of
           principal amount deposited by the States/UTs with  Ad-hoc  CAMPA
           and the total amount accrued as interest on such deposits to the
           respective State/UT’s including to the State of Gujarat  without
           the ceiling of Rs.1,000 crore, in order to ensure effective  and
           timely  implementation  of  Compensatory  Afforestation  Scheme,
           Wildlife  Conservation  and  other   Forest   conservation   and
           Protection Measures as envisaged in the CAMPA guidelines;


           ii.   Pass any  other  directions  deemed  fit  by  the  Hon’ble
           Court.”


           Prayers made in other  applications  are  similar,  if  not
      identical.
       25. The aforesaid relief is claimed on the  basis  that  the  amount
           available with CAMPA is  substantially  higher  than  Rs.1,000/-
           crores, wherein the annual release from  the  Ad-hoc  CAMPA  has
           been restricted to Rs.1,000/- crores p.a. by the orders of  this
           Court.  It is further pointed out that only during the year 2009-
           10, 10% of the principal amount, i.e., Rs.24.96 crores has  been
           released  by  the  Ad-hoc  CAMPA  to  Gujarat   State.    During
           subsequent years, i.e., 2010-11 and 2011-12, the annual  release
           from ad-hoc CAMPA to Gujarat State had come down from 10% to  8%
           and then to 7%, respectively.  For the year 2012-13, the  amount
           released is only 6.5% of  the  principal  amount.   It  is  also
           submitted by the learned counsel  appearing  for  the  State  of
           Gujarat that at the time when these applications were  filed  in
           April, 2013, the total funds available  with  the  Ad-hoc  CAMPA
           were as follows:-
           a.    The Principal amount at the disposal of  ad-hoc  CAMPA  is
                 around Rs.28000 crores.
           b.    The accrued interest  on  it  is  of  the  order  of  over
                 Rs.4,000 crores.
           c.    The annual accrual of interest on the deposits is  of  the
                 order of Rs. 2200 crores.


       26. Relying on the aforesaid facts and figures, it is  submitted  by
           the learned counsel for all the States that the  funds  released
           to the State CAMPAs are only a fraction of the interest accruing
           in the Ad-hoc CAMPA accounts. It is further submitted  that  the
           value of the  compensatory  levies,  which  have  been  obtained
           against the diversion of forest land over a period of many years
           has eroded substantially.  This is added to  by  the  continuous
           inflationary trends, which has  made  the  task  of  undertaking
           Compensatory Afforestation very cost intensive.   Therefore,  it
           is imperative that the funds are made available to State  CAMPAs
           in a  substantial  ratio  to  the  amounts  collected  from  the
           State/Union  Territories.   To  illustrate  this  dilemma,   the
           applicant has relied on a chart, which is as under:-
                                                             (Rs. In Crores)
|Year          |Amount required|Amount released |Shortfall    |
|              |as per APO     |to Gujarat State|             |
|              |               |CAMPA           |             |
|1             |2              |3               |4            |
|2009-10       |43.16          |24.96           |18.20        |
|2010-11       |43.78          |29.16           |14.62        |
|2011-12       |55.08          |26.30           |28.78        |
|2012-13       |40.61          |32.41           |8.20         |
|Total         |182.63         |112.83          |69.80        |


       27. Relying on the aforesaid chart, it  is  submitted  that  due  to
           release of  insufficient  CAMPA  funds,  all  the  NPV  Projects
           approved by the Steering Committee could not be started.  In the
           year 2009-10, out of 24 NPV Projects only 4  projects  could  be
           implemented.  In the year 2011-12, out of 14 NPV  Projects  only
           12 Projects could be implemented.  In the year 2012-13,  out  of
           15 NPV Projects only 14 Projects could be  implemented.   It  is
           pointed out that even in relation to the  projects,  which  have
           been implemented; all the activities in support of the  projects
           could not be taken up due to want of funds. This has resulted in
           an overall shortfall in the Forest  and  Wildlife  Conservation,
           which is the prime objective of CAMPA funds.  Therefore, several
           State/Union Territory Governments  including  State  of  Gujarat
           have requested the Ministry of Environment & Forests to increase
           the annual release from the Ad-hoc CAMPA funds to a minimum  10%
           of the principal amount available with Ad-hoc CAMPA, without any
           ceiling of about Rs.1,000/- crores per annum.  However, since no
           response was received from the MoEF, the State  of  Gujarat  and
           other applicant States/Union  Governments  were  constrained  to
           file the IAs.
       28. These applications came up for hearing  on  26th  August,  2013,
           20th September, 2013 and 4th October, 2013.  Upon examination of
           the entire matter, a direction was issued on      9th  December,
           2013 to the Central Empowered Committee (hereinafter referred to
           as “CEC”) to submit its  report  on  the  applications  and  the
           prayers made by the applicant.  CEC  has  submitted  its  report
           dated 6th January, 2014.
       29. In response to the application filed by the  State  of  Gujarat,
           this Court by order dated 9th December, 2013  had  directed  the
           CEC to submit its report.
       30. In its report dated 6th January, 2014, CEC has recommended  that
           the prayer made in the application ought  to  be  accepted.  The
           relevant extract of the CEC Report is as under:
           “11. The CEC, in the  above  background,  recommends  that  this
           Hon'ble Court may in partial modification of its  earlier  order
           dated 10th July, 2009 consider permitting the  Ad-hoc  CAMPA  to
           annually release from the financial year 2014-2015 onwards,  out
           of the interest received / receivable by it, an amount equal  to
           10% of the principle (sic) amount lying to the credit of each of
           the State / UT at beginning of the year to the respective  State
           CAMPA subject to the following conditions:


           i)    the funds will be released by utilizing interest  received
                 / being received by the Ad-hoc CAMPA. The  principle  (sic)
                 amount lying with the Ad-hoc CAMPA will not be released  or
                 transferred or utilized;


                 ii)   the funds will  be  released  after  receipt  of  the
                 "Annual  Plan  of  Operation"  containing  details  of  the
                 afforestation  and  other  works  for   the   conservation,
                 protection and development of the forests and wildlife  and
                 approved by the Steering Committee of the respective  State
                 CAMPA;


                 iii)  the Ad-hoc CAMPA will be at liberty  to  release  the
                 funds to the State CAMPAs in one or more installments after
                 considering the utilization of funds earlier released;


                 iv)   the  National  CAMPA  Advisory  Council  (NCAC)  will
                 finalize and  issue  guidelines  before  31st  March,  2014
                 regarding the activities for which the  use  of  the  CAMPA
                 funds will not be permissible (such as foreign study tours)
                 and the activities for which a ceiling on the  use  of  the
                 CAMPA funds will apply (such as purchase  of  vehicles  and
                 construction of residential / office buildings).
                 These guidelines will be strictly  followed  by  the  State
                 CAMPA;


                 v)    the State CAMPAs and the MoEF will expeditiously take
                 necessary follow up action on the observations made in  the
                 "Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India  on
                 Compensatory Afforestation in India".


                 vi)   the back log of Compensatory Afforestation,  if  any,
                 will be tackled on priority basis and  for  which  adequate
                 provision will be made in  the  Annual  Plan  of  Operation
                 (APO) by the respective State CAMPAs; and


                 vii)  the annual release of funds  to  the  National  CAMPA
                 Advisory Counsel (NCAC) will continue to  be  upto  Rs.  50
                 crore and provided the amounts earlier released  are  found
                 to have been substantial utilized.”
           The aforesaid recommendations have been given by the  CEC  after
      setting out the background in which the CAMPA was set up.
    31. Mr. Salve learned Amicus Curiae on the  basis  of  the  record  has
        submitted that on the directions issued by this Court about Rs.6000
        crores are being received by CAMPA annually. This amount represents
        the total amount  collected  for  compensatory  afforestation  fund
        (principal  amount  Rs.3000  crores  annually)  and   approximately
        Rs.3000 crores by way of interest on fixed deposits annually.  This
        is in addition  to  the  accumulative  principal  amount  which  is
        already invested in fixed deposits. He submits that keeping in view
        the directions issued by this Court from time to time for  ensuring
        afforestation it would be appropriate to accept the  recommendation
        of the CEC. He submits that the scheme proposed  by  the  CEC  will
        gradually increase in the  release  of  funds  to  the  State/Union
        Territory over a period of time and on  a  sustainable  basis.  The
        learned Amicus Curiae has, however, suggested  that  certain  other
        safeguards ought to be incorporated to ensure efficient  management
        of the funds released. Upon consideration of the entire  matter  at
        length, we accept the recommendations made by  the  CEC  reproduced
        above.  We, however, modify the direction 11(iv) as under:-
           The National CAMPA Advisory Council  (NCAC)  will  finalize  and
           issue guidelines before 1st May, 2014 regarding  the  activities
           for which the use of the CAMPA funds  will  not  be  permissible
           (such as foreign study tours) and the  activities  for  which  a
           ceiling on the use of  the  CAMPA  funds  will  apply  (such  as
           purchase of vehicles and construction of  residential  /  office
           buildings).
           These guidelines will be strictly followed by the State CAMPA.
           The same shall be treated as  directions  of  this  Court.   The
      order dated 10th July, 2009 is modified accordingly.
    32. The Ad-hoc CAMPA is permitted to release annual amount equal to 10%
        of the principal amount lying to the  credit  of  each  State/Union
        Territory, out of the interest receivable by it  with  effect  from
        financial year 2014-2015 onwards.  The  release  of  the  aforesaid
        funds shall be subjected to the conditions enumerated above.
    33. It is further directed that no money out of the  amounts  available
        with Ad-hoc CAMPA will be transferred or utilized without the leave
        of this Court. It is  further  directed  that  the  National  CAMPA
        Advisory Council will file a Status Report within a period of three
        months regarding the monitoring and evaluation of the  works  being
        undertaken, by utilizing the funds released by CAMPA.
    34. The Interlocutory Applications are disposed of with  the  aforesaid
        directions.


                                                             …………………………….…J.
                                                               [A.K.Patnaik]

                                                            ………………………………….J.
                                                     [Surinder Singh Nijjar]


                                                         ……..……………………………….J.
                                          [Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla]
      New Delhi;
      March 12, 2014.
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[1]    1997 (1) SCC 388

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