The Madhya Pradesh High Court has served a notice on the State government over the constitution of the Wildlife Board after an animal rights activist filed a public interest litigation petition claiming that law has been violated by nominating persons with “special interest in wildlife” to the Board. 30 membersOn August 3, the State government, under Section 6 (1) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, reconstituted the Board by nominating 30 members, with Chief Minister Kamal Nath as its Chairman and Forest Minister Umang Singhar as Vice-Chairman. Under the Section ‘experts in the fields of environmentalism/protection’, the government has nominated four out of eight persons to the Board for their “special interest in wildlife.” The PIL plea, filed by Bhopal-based Ajay Dubey, claimed that while resorting to “nepotism, corruption and favouritism” to nominate such members, thereby violating the Act, the government had “diluted” the word ‘eminent conservationist’, as mentioned in the Act. 10 nominationsAccording to Section 6 (e) of the Act, the State governments could nominate 10 persons to the Board from “amongst eminent conservationists, ecologists and environmentalists including at least two representatives of the Scheduled Tribes.”The PIL further claimed that not even a single Scheduled Tribes member had been nominated to the Board. ‘No rules’ And Moreover, it said, “As per Section 64 of the Act, the State government has to make rules for carrying out the provisions of the Act, but strangely the Government of Madhya Pradesh till date has not made any rules whatsoever”.However, Chapter 2 of The Wildlife (Protection) (Madhya Pradesh) Rules, 1974, provides for the constitution of a Wildlife Advisory Board. Permanent invitee It says that if “the Chairman considers an eminent biologist or any other person interested or, concerned with wildlife conservation..he may call such a person as a permanent invitee who like any other regular member will take part in all meetings and deliberations of the Board. Such permanent invitee will have the first claim on membership of the Board whenever a vacancy occurs.”Amended many times Aditya Sanghi, counsel for Mr. Dubey, said, “The Act has been amended several times. And with each amendment, the government must lay down new rules.”The notices were sent to the Chief Minister and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, among others, who have been asked to respond within four weeks.