Supreme Court on Wildlife Conservation: Kaziranga- Karbi Anglong Landscape

Consistent usage of environment principles in wildlife conservation

Summary: Judgments on the conservation of the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong Landscape in Assam.

This case brief looks into judicial interventions surrounding conservation of the celebrated Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong landscape in Assam. The landscape has been plagued by destructive activities for decades resulting in hindrance to animal movement, degradation of hill slopes, drying up of streams, destruction of wildlife habitat and loss of valuable flora. The Supreme Court as well as the National Green Tribunal have passed several directions which help aid wildlife conservation in and around the Kaziranga National Park. 

Some major interventions by courts include a ban on mining in the Karbi Anglong Hills, traffic management on NH 37 running alongside the park and demolition of the Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. boundary wall which has been creating obstructions in the wildlife corridors. This case brief includes findings from our on-ground investigation of the extent to which court orders have been implemented, reasons for successes and failures in implementation and the role of activists and regulatory agencies.  Court’s usage of the sustainable development and precautionary principles as regards wildlife conservation are also examined here.

The brief and accompanying documentary ‘My Way or the Highway’ (watch trailer) are part of Vidhi’s year-long research project tracking landmark judgments and orders on a wide range of issues such as the firecrackers ban in Delhi, industrial pollution in Patancheru (Telangana), impact of dams in Uttarakhand, waste management in Delhi and protection of wildlife corridors around Kaziranga National Park (Assam).