The Supreme Court of India on 21 January 2013 banned the tourists to pass from Andaman Nicobar Trunk Road which passes through an area which is Jarawas habitat. The Andaman Nicobar Trunk Road leads to the Limestone Cave. A bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and H.L. Gokhale ordered that the directives of the court which were issued in 2012 should be followed strictly.
Earlier, the Apex court had banned the tourism or commercial activities in 5-km radius of Jarawa Tribal Reserve which lies in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Supreme Court in its 2007 notification had declared the area up to 5-km radius of Jarawa Tribal Reserve as the Buffer Zone and had prohibited any person from entering into this Zone unless and until that person is a member of aboriginal tribe.
The Buffer Zone is the area starting from Constance Bay in South Andaman to Lewis Inlet Bay in Middle Andaman. No one is allowed to operate the commercial or tourist activities in the Buffer Zone. Also, no one is allowed to perform the activities which may be a danger to the security, interests or safety of the Jarawas.
The bench of SC commanded that government officials, people living in that reserve as well as the vehicles which carry necessary commodities to Jarawas, would be allowed on this Trunk Road.
Andaman and Nicobar Administration directed to file the affidavit
The bench of justices additionally, also directed the Andaman and Nicobar Administration that they should file an affidavit as well as the detailed map which indicates the areas of Jarawas as well as the settlement of others.
The notification of 30 October 2007, in which the administration asked that ban should be imposed, was cancelled by the Calcutta High Court. However, on 2 July 2012 the Bench of Justices G. S. Singhvi and S. J. Mukhopadhaya had upheld the 30 October 2007 notification of the Andaman and Nicobar Administration to declare this 5-km radius area as the Buffer Zone and ban any commercial or tourism-related activities in that area.
Who are the Jarawas?
The Jarawas are basically the indigenous tribes or adivasis of Andaman Islands, India. The present population of Jarawas is merely 250-400 people. It is said that the Jarawas have remained the inhabitants of the Andamans for thousands of years. Jarawa ancestors were thought to be the first successful migration of humans from Africa.
Legal Support to Jarawas
•1965- Plan created for developing Andaman. Road was proposed to extract certain resources in the Jarawa forest
•1973- Construction was started on the Grand Andaman Trunk Road
•2002- Supreme Court ordered to shut down the Grand Andaman Trunk Road
•2007- Court prohibited people from seeking entry into 5-km radius around Jarawa reserve
•2012 July- Banned all commercial and tourism activities in the Buffer Zone
•2013- Ban notified