CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has rejected a writ plea from an old couple for a direction to the Coimbatore District Forest Officer to grant permission to them to use the forest Mangarai-Sembukkarai road to have access to their farmland at Veerapandi at Dumanur-Sembukkarai by using four-wheelers.
N Mukunthan, an agriculture graduate, after retirement as Principal Scientist in Indian Council of Agricultural Research, has decided to spend his post-retirement life in farming activities. However, by an order dated February 27, 2016, the officer rejected permission to use the road with vehicles. Hence, the present writ petition to quash the order.
Justice T Raja pointed out that no person using the road by foot or bicycle or two-wheelers were prevented.
Although the court understands the difficulty expressed by the petitioners, the cogent and convincing reasons adduced by the officer cannot be found fault with. The petitioners cannot compare themselves with tribals who were living inside the forest and permitted to use the road.
Another reason given by the officer is that if the petitioners and their family members are permitted to use vehicles on forest road to have access to their agricultural land, wild animals like elephants, tigers, leopards and bears would be misdirected to the nearby villages, with the result innocent villagers and tribals would be mostly affected due to man-animal conflict.
Moreover, when the petitioners and their family members have been allowed to have access to their land by foot or by two-wheelers, they can always continue to use the same so as to have ingress and egress to their agricultural land without using the vehicles.
Although the petitioners repeatedly assert their right to use the road with vehicles, they have all the more forgotten about the very survival/safety of the wild animals too in the natural habitat surrounding the forest road in question. Considering these aspects only, the officer has rejected the request for permission to use the forest road. Therefore, the court is not inclined to interfere with the same, the judge said.