The Gujarat high court has stayed land deals in the periphery of the lions' den – the Gir sanctuary.
Issue involves possession of land by non-Maldharis
While ordering a stay on land deals in the reserved forest surrounding the Gir sanctuary, chief justice SJ Mukhopadhaya called for maintaining a balance between development and nature. The forest department has been maintaining that the increased grazing has resulted in decrease of prey for lions in the forest. Moreover, the forest officials have also been insisting that the sale of plots allotted to Maldharis be declared illegal, and non-Maldharis be evicted from the place. However, the petitioner claims that he has been deliberately harassed by forest officials due to other social consideration and his ownership of the plot is legal. To this, the chief justice commented, "Lions' place has to be protected. You shift from the place before you become prey to lions.