Chennai: The Madras High Court has ordered issue of notices to the Centre on a PIL seeking direction to enact a legislation similar to the Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, 2006, to protect the rights and interests of fishermen and other coastal communities.
The First Bench comprising Chief Justice R K Agrawal and Justice M Sathyanarayanan, before whom the PIL filed by L T A Peter Rayan, President of `Fisherman Care`, came up yesterday, adjourned the matter till January 8 for further hearing.
The petitioner said that in July 2009 an expert committee headed by M S Swaminathan submitted a report, reducing the no development zone from the existing 200 metres to 100 metres from the high tide line.
Although it encouraged multinational companies to encroach upon the space traditionally enjoyed by fisherfolk, the committee recommended that government enact a separate legislation to protect their traditional rights.
The recommendation has been endorsed by the parliamentary committee reviewing coastal management zone. The Environment Ministry too has written to other ministries seeking opinion on drafting the proposed legislation, but there has been no response from them so far, the petitioner said.
The PIL said the delay by the Centre in drafting the legislation will amount to depriving the fundamental rights of fishermen communities, and being indifferent to encroachment of their habitat by developers.
Noting that their livelihood is under threat, the petitioner wanted the court to direct the authorities to bring out an appropriate legislation.