The Supreme Court was dealing with a plea filed by BJP MP Anubhav Mohanty against the use of brutal methods to kill wild animals
The Supreme Court was dealing with a plea filed by BJP MP Anubhav Mohanty against the use of brutal methods to kill wild animals
Litigation News

"Is a direction against culling of wild animals enough?" Supreme Court ponders over BJD MP's plea against brutal killing of wild animals

The Supreme Court said that the issue needs to be looked at in terms of a solution and tagged the plea with a similar petition filed in relation to the killing of an elephant in Kerala recently.

Debayan Roy

While dealing with a plea filed by Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Anubhav Mohanty against the brutal killing of wild animals, the Supreme Court today observed that this issue needed to be looked at in terms of a solution.

The top Court issued notice on the petition by Member of Parliament (MP) Anubhav Mohanty seeking the Court’s intervention against the indiscriminate and brutal killing of wild animals in India.

Today the Bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde with Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian pondered over the issue to ask if a mere direction against the culling of these animals is enough to address the issue.

The Court noted that there was a catch-22 situation considering that most of these wild animals came to be killed on account of them crossing over on to farmlands and destroying crops. Yet, it was noted, the killing of animals cannot always be justified.

"We are treating this matter with anxiety. What if wild animals destroy farm lands. What if a wild tiger or rogue elephant destroying crops can be killed or not? But yes killing 50 nilgais is not justified."
CJI SA Bobde said

There could be more humane methods of dealing with the animals when a situation of man-animal conflict arises and methods such as rubber bullets instead of culling could be used, the Apex Court observed. With this thought, the Court asked Senior Counsel Siddharth Luthra representing the petitioner to suggest some ways in which the issue can be dealt with.

Court also asked Luthra to assess and examine if forest land was being encroached upon leading to the rise of such conflict. Luthra said that the living space of the wild animals was indeed being encroached upon bringing the Court to say that a solution needs to be found.

"We need a solution. No solution lies only in saying don't kill them. Look at it terms of solution."
CJI SA Bobde

The Court proceeded to tag this petition along with a similar petition filed in the wake of the accidental killing of a pregnant elephant that ate a pineapple filled with explosives.

The Supreme Court also issued notice to States on the issue of permissions granted for the killing of large number of Nilgais to stop the destruction of crops.

In his petition, the BJD MP from Kendrapada argues that many State Governments for example in Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala have financially incentivised the killing of wild animals such as Nilgai, Rhesus Macaque and Wild Boar respectively.

Unfortunately, a popular way of getting rewarded by the State Governments is by planting bombs and poisons in the forests, he states.

The plea cites the recent report of the death of several animals and a child after heinous practices such snares, wire traps, explosives, bomb baits, poison baits etc. were reported and documented to have been used to destroy wild animals.

The petition seeks for a proactive, constructive and a scientific way forward to mitigate human-wildlife conflict instead of encouraging citizens of the country to kills such wild animals.

The petition states that due to such indiscriminate hunting, non-target animals such as elephants, leopards, tigers, jackals and even cows fall prey to such unwarranted methods of elimination, dying painful and agonizing deaths.

"It is estimated by the Forest Department of Kerala that from 2012 to 2020, 24 tigers and 110 leopards have been killed by wire snares in Kerala alone. It also has the potential to cause grievous injuries to humans as well."

reads the plea

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