National Green Tribunal | Taking suo motu cognizance to consider the impact of musical festival which was proposed to be held near the Tiger reserve at Ranthambhore, Rajasthan, a bench comprising of Adarsh Kumar Goel (Chairperson), Sudhir Agarwal (Judicial Member), JJ., and A. Senthil Vel (Expert Member) allowed the music festival to be held only if the authorities concerned permit it after considering its impact on wildlife and the ecosystem.
Canvas Talent (P) Ltd (‘Applicant’)., submitted that the Ranthambhore Festival is being organized to promote art and culture of the area since 2017 and the proposed venue is a hotel which is approximately 5 km from the tiger reserve with an audience size of 500-600.
The applicant submitted that the event will be held within the complex of the Hotel at amphitheatre and only fabric banners and recycled material are used. Moreover, the guests will use wireless headphones. The counsel for applicant also contended that it had taken all the permissions/approvals and it had put huge investments and efforts into organizing the event.
The applicant further submitted that they are willing to give an undertaking that there will be no music and light, except the use of headphones and many activities will be shifted indoors from the amphitheatre.
The Tribunal observed that photographs from the previous year’s clearly show the use of musical instruments, lighting, drums, and an attendance of at least 3,000 people and the contention that all approval were taken cannot be accepted as no such approval has been shown.
The Tribunal observed that it is difficult to accept that such an event will not have an adverse impact on wildlife as no evaluation was undertaken by any statutory regulator or by the applicant.
The Tribunal opined that as per government guidelines, an approval of a standing committee of the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) is required for activities within 10 km from boundaries of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries and stated that
“It appears to be difficult to rule out the possibility of disturbing the wildlife and ecosystem by such large event close to the Tiger reserve. Informed decision in such a matter by statutory regulator is necessary in absence of any express permission when the event is within 10 km from the Tiger Reserve.”
The Tribunal held that Ranthambhore Musical Festival can be held near the tiger reserve subject to conditions laid down by a joint committee of National Wildlife Board, Government of India and Chief Wildlife Warden, Rajasthan and due consideration must be taken into account of the music festival’s impact on the wildlife and the ecosystem.
The Tribunal also directed the National Board for Wildlife to coordinate with other authorities concerned, including the National Tiger Conservation Authority and issued appropriate guidelines regarding such events in the vicinity of other national parks in the country within one month.
[In re: Ranthambhore Musical Festival, near the Forest/Sanctuary area, Original Application No. No.777/2022 (I.A No. 280/2022), decided on 07-11-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. Atmaram and N.S. Nadkarni (Senior Advocate), Dr. Harsh Pathak and Mr. Mohit Choubey, Counsel for Applicant/Canvas Talent (P) Ltd.
*Ritu Singh, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.