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Supreme Court admits petition challenging new rules for India's wetlands by Badri Chatterjee February 21,2020   |  Source: Hindustan Times

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notices to the Centre admitting a plea challenging the constitutional validity of Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017. The SC bench comprising justice Deepak Gupta and justice Aniruddha Bose issued notices to the Union environment ministry and ministry of law and justice based on a writ petition filed by Vanashakti, a non-government organisation (NGO). The writ petition, presented before the apex court on Monday, sought striking down of the wetland rules in its entirety, and urged the court to inventorise and protect 2,01,503 wetlands of more than 2.25 hectare in size covered in the National Wetland Atlas (India) — a document developed by the Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad under the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2011.

Based on a previous SC order to identify and protect wetlands in India, the Union environment ministry in September 2017 notified the new rules replacing the earlier 2010 law and revised the definition of wetland. The 2017 rules excluded previously identified wetlands in coastal regulation zones, salt pans, forests, and human-made water bodies, and directed all states to initiate a fresh exercise to identify and document wetlands based on the new definition. Vanashakti’s petition

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