The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court on Thursday quashed the June 23 order of the 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 persons in South Brahmapuri range of Chandrapur district in the last one month.
The HC bench comprising Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Rohit Deo delivered the order on a petition by wildlife lover and a practicing doctor Jerryil Banait, upholding the contention that due process wasn’t followed before issuing the shooting orders.
The HC upheld Banait’s contentions that the said tigress hadn’t been declared a “man-eater” as prescribed in the standard operating procedure issued by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in 2013. It also agreed with the petitioner’s contention that the said attacks by the tigress named T27 Cub1 had happened inside reserved forest where humans are not normally allowed to enter. Similarly, no recommendation to the effect that the tigress had become a man-eater had been received from a special committee that is set up on such occasions.
“The PCCF couldn’t produce the panchnama and comparison of camera trap photographs with National Repository Bank of such photographs. NTCA guidelines state that 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 declaration of the animal as man-eater, 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, adding, “the identity of the animal as man-eater hadn’t been established.”
The petitioner has also flagged off many other issues such as disappearance of iconic Umred-Karhandla wildlife Sanctuary tiger Jai and electrocution of his cub Srinivas, need to radio-collar all tigers and illegal human entry in reserved forest. The HC issued notices to NTCA, Union Ministry for Environment and forest, PCCF and Principal Secretary (Forest), Maharashtra and has asked them to file their replies before July 20.