Updated: February 27, 2021 7:51:36 am
THE SUPREME Court on Friday declined to go any further into a plea seeking contempt of court proceedings against Maharashtra officials for rewarding people who killed an alleged ‘man-eater’ tigress, Avni, in Yavatmal district in 2018 after being told that the said shooting was done with the approval of the apex court.
“If the action was confirmed by the Supreme Court, we can’t reopen it,” Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, heading a three-judge bench, said and allowed the petitioner, animal rights activist Sangeeta Dogra, to withdraw her plea.
The bench also comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian had on the last date of hearing issued notice on the petition, which sought contempt action against Maharashtra Principal Secretary Vikas Kharge and others in connection with the shooting of Avni.
On Friday, the bench pointed out that the state in its reply had said that the action was sanctioned by the court and said it cannot say now that the tigress was not a man eater and review the earlier decision of the court.
Dogra contended that the forest officials had “celebrated” the killing but this was denied by the counsel who appeared for the officials.
Agreeing that it was indeed a “very serious issue”, the bench, however, said it cannot interfere in it at this stage and told the petitioner to come in advance if something similar happens in the future and the court will stop it.
The plea contended that the tigress was shot dead on the ground that it had killed 13 people in the area and hence was a “man-eater” but the post-mortem report showed that it was not a man-eater.
If an animal was a man-eater, the DNA tests would show this as the hair and nails remains in the intestines for more than six months, Dogra said, adding that “the tigress which was killed, her stomach was empty” and that the killers “were awarded by the state and there was celebration” in violation of Supreme Court directions.
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