New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it may modify its July 24 order banning all tourism activities in the core areas of tiger reserves, but asked the Centre to notify within a week fresh guidelines for the conservation of the wild cat in the country.
A bench of justices AK Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar also made it clear that the states, if aggrieved by the guidelines, are free to challenge it before the court.
"We cannot either validate the guidelines or declare any of the guidelines ultra-vires of the Constitution," the bench observed, while posting the matter for further hearing on October 16.
The apex court while refraining from giving any stamp of approval, however, said that it was not opposed to tourism as such since the interim ban imposed by it was only to regulate it.
"The purpose is not to stop it (tourism) but regulate it. We will certainly modify it. Notify it and we will modify it," the bench told the Centre.
Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising told the court that the guidelines being prepared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) will be notified "within a day," but the court granted the Government a week`s time to notify.
The bench, however, refused to give any approval for the guidelines saying the constitutionality of the same was amenable to challenge by states.
"We can`t give a stamp that all is Constitutionally valid at this stage. We are not an appellate authority.
"See it was unregulated. You have not laid down guidelines. Now you want to issue guidelines. They are entitled to be challenged," the bench observed.
The apex court on July 24 had banned all tourist activities in the core areas of tiger reserves and had extended the ban till September 27 on August 29.