Supreme Court on Friday asked an animal rights activist and NGOs to approach Delhi High Court with their plea for quashing of three notifications of the Centre declaring Nilgais, monkeys and wild boars as vermins.
A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and AM Khanwilkar said the High Court had the jurisdiction and could decide the issue at hand.
Senior advocate K K Venugopal said the three notifications by the Centre related to the states of Bihar, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and the apex court should hear the pleas.
“Delhi High Court very much has the jurisdiction and it can decide the issue. You move the High Court for the relief,” the bench said.
The bench then granted liberty to the petitioners, animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi and NGOs - Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre and Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) to withdraw their plea.
On June 20, the apex court had asked the animal rights organisations to make representations before the Centre regarding three notifications declaring Nilgais (antelopes), monkeys and wild boars as vermins.
The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), a statutory advisory body on animal welfare laws and promotes animal welfare in India, had also questioned the notifications issued by Ministry of Environment and Forests declaring these animals as vermins for one year in the three states.
The first notification issued by the Ministry dated December 1, 2015, declared Nilgai and wild boar as vermin in some districts of Bihar for one year.
The second notification dated February 3 this year declared wild boar as vermin in some districts of Uttarakhand for one year, while the third notification, issued on May 24 declared rhesus macaque (monkey) to be vermin in certain districts of Himachal Pradesh.
“The impugned notifications have been passed in absolute disregard of the human-wildlife conflict plaguing the country and without any scientific survey backing them,” one of the pleas filed before the apex court has said.
It has said that once an animal is declared vermin, it is deprived of the protection provided to the wild animals by the Wildlife Protection Act. PTI MNL SJK RKS ARC