In Court

Of late, the public and the private sectors saw a great deal of activism by the Supreme Court (SC) and high courts (HC). The injunctions were aimed at making procedural operations transparent and curbing environmental degradation. Some of the recent court orders are enlisted below:

Following an SC ruling on December 19, 1996, banning total movement of cut trees and timber from any of the seven northeastern states, India's Rs 800-crore agarbatti (incense sticks) industry is facing total closure. With a supply of 5,000 tonne of bamboo slits, the northeast was meeting 95 per cent of the country's total demand. Rough estimates indicate the turnover be Rs 800-1,000 crore. The ban is likely to affect over a million workers rolling agarbattis in Karnataka.

The SC order also placed Assam's plywood industry in a tight spot. The industry, the second biggest in the state after tea, has 48 mills scattered in three upper Assam districts, many of them already closed down due to paucity of materials.

The SC recently set aside the orders of the Orissa HC, which by a writ of mandamus , had directed the state to issue "timber transit permits' to respondents (certain

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