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HC quashes shoot at sight order against tigress

India Today
New Delhi
29 Jun 2017

Nagpur, Jun 29 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today quashed a Maharashtra forest authorities shoot-at-sight order against a tigress of Brahmapuri forest area, dubbed as a "man-eater."
The shoot-at-sight order was quashed by the Nagpur bench of the high court on a plea by Dr Jerryl Avinash Banait, a medical practitioner and a wildlife enthusiast.
While hearing the plea, the division bench of justices B P Dharmadhikari and Rohit Deo also also castigated the forest authorities for their "casual and callous" approach on a serious issue of human safety and the tiger conservation.
The Maharashtra principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) had issued the shoot-at-sight order against the tigress on June 23 after she was suspected to have killed two persons and injured two others in Brahmapuri forest area in Chandrapur.
Dr Jerryl had challenged the shoot-at-sight order to kill the tigress T-27 cub-1 under the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.
"Two deaths caused by the tigress occurred in the reserved jungle/ buffer zone, where humans cannot enter normally. The illegal entry of humans in reserved jungle/ protected area is violation of section 9 of the WLPA, 1972. Hence, the tigress should not be labelled as a man-eater," the petitioner said.
Counsel for the forest department, Ketki Joshi, admitted that the tigress could not be treated as a man-eater.
The high court accepted the arguments made by the petitioner and quashed the PCCF order.
Petitioners lawyer Tushar Mandlekar said the high court observed that the order had been passed without following the due process of law and was in violation of the guidelines issued by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) on January 30, 2013.
The high court also found that the identification of the tigress and process contemplated in the NTCA guidelines was not followed, he said.
The NTCA guidelines state that the identity of the animal must be obtained through a committee constituted for the purpose, through camera trappings or direct sighting or pug impressions, besides collecting pieces of hair/excreta for DNA profiling. PTI CLS NP RAX BAS