In the wake of the forest department issuing orders to kill a tiger that has attacked humans recently, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court has warned officials that if they end up shooting the wrong tiger, they will be held responsible for any further loss of human life.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by one Jerryl Banait, seeking quashing of the order of Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) A K Mishra to shoot dead a tigress that has so far killed two persons, injured two and attacked two more near Halda village in South Bramhapuri range of Chandrapur district. The order was issued on June 23. Banait has claimed that the forest officials haven’t followed guidelines issued by the National Tiger Conservation Authority. “Identification of the aberrant tiger has not been done. The said tiger cannot be treated as man-eater as he has not been declared one. Two deaths caused by the tiger have occurred in reserved jungle/buffer zone, where humans cannot enter normally. The illegal entry of humans in reserved jungle/protected area is a violation of section 9 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972,” the petitioner has contended.
The petitioner’s lawyers Tushar Mandlekar and Rohan Malviya said: “A division bench of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Rohit Deo asked tough questions to the Forest Department and sought record about the case to be presented on Thursday. It asked how could they issue shoot orders without identifying the problem animal as per NTCA guidelines that call for identification through a special committee constituted for the purpose, through camera trappings or direct sighting or pug impressions besides collecting pieces of hair or scat samples for DNA profiling. The bench said it will hold the PCCF responsible for any loss of human life if the wrong tiger gets killed. It also asked the PCCF to remain present and explain the matter on Thursday.”