Ban on vehicular movement through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve at night to remain
In the Bandipur Tiger reserve, the movement of vehicles is banned at night from 6 pm to 9 am. Recently, the Kerala govenrment filed a plea in the Supreme Court to lift the prohibition citing information gathered through the Right to Information (RTI) Act which showed that during the ten year period (2002-12), just 14 wild animals died. He was countering the charge that a large number of animals had lost their lives due to traffic at night. The petition by Kerala government requested for permission to move vehicles in a convoy through the reserve forest thrice in a night alleging that passengers travelling by road between Karnataka and Kerala were forced to wait overnight.
The Supreme Court was not moved by the submissions made on behalf of Kerala government by advocate Gopal Subramanium. The bench presided over by Chief Justice H L Dattu said that “Forests belong to animals and tribals who live there. But you have carved a road inside that and then want to use it.” The bench observed that animals have first right over forests. Referring to its 2013 ban on tourists taking the Andaman Nicobar Trunk Road that passed through Jarawa tribe habitats, the Apex Court rejected the petition filed by the Kerala government. Hence, the ban on vehicular movement through the Bandipur Tiger Reserve at night shall remain in force.