IN AN extraordinary ruling, the High Court bench here has quashed the June 23 order of Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), Wildlife, A K Mishra to shoot dead a tigress that has killed two persons, injured two and tried to attack two more in South Brahmapuri range of Chandrapur district in the past month.
The HC bench comprising Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Rohit Deo delivered the order Thursday on a petition by wildlife lover and doctor Jerryil Banait, upholding the contention that due process wasn’t followed before the shoot orders were issued.
The HC summoned the PCCF and other senior officials during Wednesday’s hearing and asked them to remain present Thursday. Accordingly, Mishra and Chandrapur CCF Vijay Shelke were present.
The HC upheld Banait’s contention that the tigress hadn’t been declared a “maneater” as prescribed in the standard operating procedure issued by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in 2013. It also agreed with the petitioner’s contention that the attacks by the tigress, named T27 Cub1, had happened inside reserved forest where humans are not normally allowed to enter.
“The PCCF couldn’t produce the panchnama and comparison of camera-trap photographs with the National Repository Bank of such photographs. NTCA guidelines say that a tiger shouldn’t be killed unless it is habituated to human deaths, elimination of tiger should be the last resort after failure of all efforts to capture it live, reasons should be declared to justify the declaration of the animal as a maneater, identity of the animal must be obtained through a committee constituted for the purpose through camera-trapping, direct sighting or pug impressions, besides collecting pieces of hair or scats for DNA profiling,” said petitioner’s lawyers Tushar Mandlekar and Rohan Malviya.