Photo: Mathrubhumi/ P Jayesh
New Delhi: A two-member bench of Supreme Court hearing the review pleas of Kerala and Union governments in contentious buffer zone issue on Monday handed over the matter to a three-judge bench
SC on June 3, 2022, had ordered to declare one kilometre around protected forests as ecologically sensitive zones (ESZ). Kerala is seeking exemption from it. It argues that people living close to protected forests are in fear of losing their homes and livelihood.
On Monday, the bench of Justices BR Gavai and Justice Vikram Nath considered the petitions and handed it over to a higher bench.
The Kerala government has published maps and reports on its official website in December last year on the buffer zones. ESZs, demarcated near 22 protected forests, including sanctuaries and national parks in the state, could be seen in these maps shown on the website.
In June last year, the Supreme Court directed that a buffer zone of 1 km be maintained around forests and sanctuaries across the country.