Gujarat High Court issues notice to state govt on fishermen's plea challenging suspension of contract to fish in Pratapsagar Lake

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court has issued a notice to the state government on a petition of a group of fishermen seeking that an order suspending their fishing contract licence be revoked.

The fishermen claimed that their contract for fishing in a lake in Gujarat's Sabarkantha district was suspended earlier this year after some upper caste locals complained that the activity hurt their religious sentiments.

File image of Gujarat High Court. PTI

File image of Gujarat High Court. PTI

A division bench of Justices Anant Dave and Biren Vaishnav issued notices on Wednesday to the government and the commissioner of fisheries on the petition of 'Asha Matsya Vikas Khedut Mangalam Mandal', a fishermen's group.

The petition, filed by the group's lawyer advocate S H Iyer, challenged suspension of their fishing contract in the Pratapsagar Lake near Idar town in Sabarkantha.

A person, Hirala Joshi, had earlier filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the tender floated for awarding the contract.

The fishermen said in their plea that they belong to a "backward class", and that the contract was granted to them in October 2017, "subject to the outcome of that PIL".

The contract was suspended on 21 February by the fisheries commissioner till the final outcome of the PIL. However, the PIL was withdrawn later.

"Since the PIL was revoked, the order suspending the contract was required to be revoked, which was not done," the petition said.
"The contract was suspended on the ground that the district collector had received a complaint from certain local people belonging to the upper caste alleging that their religious sentiments were hurt on account of the fishing activity in the lake," it said.

The petition urged the high court to direct authorities to allow them to operate in the lake.

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Updated Date: Aug 30, 2018 13:52:51 IST

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