FISHERMAN CARE, REGISTERED ASSOCIATION Vs. GOVERNMENT OF INDIA
LAWS(SC)-2023-1-68
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on January 24,2023

Fisherman Care, Registered Association Appellant
VERSUS
GOVERNMENT OF INDIA Respondents




JUDGEMENT

- (1.)We have before this Court a Special Leave Petition, and three Writ Petitions, where the common issue is the use of a fishing method called Purse Seine Fishing. The Fisheries Department, Government of Tamil Nadu vide its Order dtd. 25/3/2000 had banned, inter alia, the use of Purse Seine Fishing nets within its territorial waters i.e. within 12 nautical miles (22 KMs from the Coast Line). By an Order dtd. 5/2/2019 passed by the Madras High Court, the challenge made to the above Order was also dismissed. Thereafter, another writ petition was filed before the Madras High Court by Fisherman Care Association (Petitioner in S.L.P.(c) No.8442/2021), this time relying on a report of an Expert Committee, made yet another effort to persuade the High Court to revisit the whole issue and allow Purse Seine Fishing within the territorial waters. The Division Bench of the Madras High Court, however, dismissed the Writ Petition holding that the Government has taken an informed decision by banning Purse Seine Fishing within its territorial waters, and the petition before it was by only "a class of affluent fishermen", and thus declined to revisit the matter, dismissing their petition vide Order dtd. 20/4/2021.
(2.)The above order is impugned in the petition.
(3.)The three writ petitions have also been filed by the petitioners where the relief sought is i.e. to permit the petitioners to do fishing with Purse Seine Fishing Nets beyond the territorial waters in the State of Tamil Nadu. In Writ Petition No. 1039 of 2022, the specific prayer is to strike down sub-­rule (7) of Rule 17 of Tamil Nadu Marine Fishing Regulation Rules, 2020, sub-­rule (7) reads as under :-­
"(7) No owner or master of a fishing vessels shall carry on fishing by pair trawling or fishing with purse seine net using any fishing vessel or craft whether country craft or mechanised boat irrespective of their size and power of the engine in the entire coastal area of the State."

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