NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay Centre’s notification allowing culling of nilgai , wild boar in Bihar, monkey in Himachal Pradesh. It also declined to stay killing of wild boar in Uttrakhand.
A bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel refused to pass any interim order but agreed to hear animal rights activist plea after vacation and posted it for July 15.
The bench, however, allowed the activists to make a representation to the Central government and asked UOI to consider their grievances within two weeks.
The Centre had issued notifications permitting the three states to kill the animals on the ground that they were posing danger to human life and causing harm to crops.
Senior advocates Anand Grover and Siddharth Luthra appearing for the petitioners, pleaded the court to intervene as the decision for culling was taken without conducting any study on the danger posed by the animals to human habitat.
The ministry of environment and forest had on December 1 last year issued notification declaring nilgai and wild boar as vermin in Bihar and granted permission for their culling for one year. On February 2, it allowed culling of wild boar in Uttrakhand while killing of rhesus macaque monkey in Himachal Pradesh was allowed by the Centre on May 24.
Once declared vermin (harmful to human, crops, farm animals or carrier of diseases), an animal is deprived of the protection under the Wildlife Protection Act.
Challenging the Constitutional validity of Section 62 of the Act, which empowers the Centre to declare a protected animal as vermin, petitioner Gauri Maulekhi contended that the provision is illegal as it conferred excessive and arbitrary powers on the government to permit “mindless” slaughter of protected animals without holding any inquiry.
“Open hunting of one of the species will lower inhibitions and provoke locals and hunters to engage in hunting of other animals resulting in indiscriminate killings” the petitioners argue.
It also alleges that the Centre is ignoring the fact that both nilgai and wild boar are indicator prey species.
Quoting another SC judgment on the survival of the Asiatic Lion and the population of prey species, the petition argues that prey species reflects upon the health of the ecosystem and are directly responsible for the sustenance of predatory species such as tigers, leopards, dholes and wolves. “In the absence of these prey animals, predatory species will be forced to enter human dominated landscape …nilgai and wild boar also help disperse seeds of various endemic species of trees thereby sustaining the health of forests.”