0

Fishing restrictions imposed under Rule 17(7) of the TN Marine Fishing Regulation Rules are not unlawful or discriminatory- Madras High Court

In such view of the matter, we do not find any violation of the constitutional provision, rather an identical issue, as raised by the petitioner was brought before the Apex Court in the case of State of Kerala (supra), wherein a challenge to the similar restriction or prohibition was not accepted even in reference to Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India. These were discussed by the bench of Hon’ble Mr. Munishwar Nath Bhandari & Hon’ble Mr. Justice P. D. Audikesavalu in the case of PoomPuhar Traditional Fishermen Welfare Association V. The State of Tamil Nadu & Anr (W.P.No.430 of 2022).

The crux of the case is the petitioner seeks a direction on respondents 1 and 2 to allow traditional fishermen of Tamil Nadu to carry the purse seine net in their country crafts and the mechanized vessels for marine fishing within the traditional waters and of Tamil Nadu and behind the traditional waters within the exclusive economic zones by lifting such prohibition/ban stipulated in Rule 17(7) of the Tamil Nadu Marine Fishing Regulation Rules, 1983 incorporated vide G.O.Ms.No.36, Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (FS-4), dated 17.02.2020.

Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that all neighbouring States are permitting fishing without any prohibition or restriction as imposed by the State of Tamil Nadu. In view of the above and in the absence of similar set of legislation in other States, a discrimination has been made and, accordingly, a direction is sought to allow the traditional fishermen of Tamil Nadu to carry the purse seine net in their country crafts and the mechanized vessels for marine fishing within the traditional waters and of Tamil Nadu by lifting the prohibitions as stated in Rule 17(7) of the 1983 Rules. Learned Government Pleader has cited the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of State of Kerala v. Joseph Antony, ((1994) 1 SCC 301) to support his arguments. The challenge to the similar prohibition was not accepted by the Apex Court even in reference to Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.

The bench of Hon’ble Mr. Munishwar Nath Bhandari & Hon’ble Mr. Justice P. D. Audikesavalu observed and stated while referring to the case of State of Kerala v. Joseph Antony, (1994) 1 SCC 301 that in view of the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of State of Kerala (supra) on the same issue, which is binding, even if the other neighbouring States have not imposed similar restrictions, we do not propose to interfere with the prohibition/ban imposed in the State for the object sought to be achieved. From the judgment of the Apex Court in the case of State of Kerala (supra), it becomes clear that a similar prohibition exists in the State of Kerala. Thus, the statement of learned counsel for the petitioner that there was no similar restriction or prohibition in the State of Kerala cannot be accepted.

For the foregoing reasons, we find no illegality or unconstitutionality in Rule 17(7) of the 1983 Rules which imposes prohibition/ban on using certain varieties of nets. Accordingly, the writ petition fails and it is dismissed. No costs. Consequently, W.M.P.No.487 of 2022 is closed.

Click here to read the judgement

Judgement reviewed by Himanshu Ranjan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Open chat